I have a bone to pick with my fellow Christians. And often Paul did too… He reprimanded Christians in the Church who didn’t have their priorities straight. And sometimes we need to be reminded of how out of scripture we can be.
So, you want to go on a mission internationally? I have no problem with that, go, but check yourself first. The people I know that are wanting to go on missions are not even stepping out and sharing the Gospel to people right in front of them. There is a need right in front of their face and they tend to ignore it for the thrill of something different. It’s sad actually. When events are held to reach out to people in your community, and crickets are in your place for missing opportunities to outreach with the Body of Christ, you’re in the clouds if you think this will change once you’re in a different country. Idolizing missions is a thing, and it’s an even bigger thing among high school and college aged Christians. If you are not even willing to reach out to the people who have not heard the Gospel in your own town, then why are you begging to be sent abroad to do what you aren’t even doing now?
Get involved locally and be faithful to that. If a ministry invites you to outreach with them to an unreached people group, go, make connections, and see how much need your community is in need to hear the Gospel. Your eyes will be opened like never before!
Before you go on a mission, check your reasons. If it is anything other than spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then stop yourself right there. The first things you should go over with yourself before you plan on going on a missions trip are:
- Getting involved locally with a ministry, if possible, dedicated to reaching out to the people group of where you desire to travel to internationally. This will help you make connections with the people in this ministry that have tips on how to reach people of that specific culture with specific beliefs.
- Show your faith in local missions before venturing off to international missions. If you don’t even desire to reach out to the people near you, how is it that you want to go international?
- Are all of your friends going on mission trips and you don’t want to get left behind? Stop yourself right there. The meaning of a mission is not just a weekend abroad type of moment. A mission is meant to be a devotion to making connections with Christians in that area and reaching out to people who haven’t heard about the eternal Life Jesus Christ offers.
- Are you looking for an adventure of a lifetime rather than wanting to serve the Lord Jesus Christ? Serving the Lord Jesus doesn’t always look like a recently painted mural. It’s dedication, it’s messy, but it’s what God calls us to. God doesn’t call us to always live a happy life, but a holy and dedicated life. Things that happen won’t always make sense, but a gospel of wealth, health, and happiness is from the devil- not God. Don’t buy it.
- Are you a different person on the mission trip that you wouldn’t have been back home? I am talking about suddenly caring about outreaching to people, when you couldn’t give two blinks about outreaching in your own country, let alone your own community. This personality is an on and off switch depending on your emotions, not on the Bible. Now, if you’re radically changed on this mission that’s great! But, we should realize and ask “Why are we more excited about going elsewhere when we aren’t even excited about outreaching to people where we are at now?”
There are a million wrong reasons to go on a missions trip, but there is only one right reason.
Check yourself before you plan on going on a mission trip. I’ve seen too many Churches bring the wrong minded people, and too many Christians in college that are into the thrill of it rather than the reality of it.
Sure, God may have really put on your heart to leave the United States to preach the Gospel, but often times, we miss opportunities in our own countries because of wishful thinking about ‘whats out there’ mentality. It’s the same. It’s the same lost world everywhere. The Great Commission will be fulfilled before Jesus comes, and that starts here with us where we are at, discipling and being discipled.
Now, I’m not saying don’t go on missions. Go, where you are led, but remember that the need where you are at now is greater than you realize. Get plugged in locally and pray about how and where God can specifically use you where you are at. There are many opportunities we pass up everyday thinking about ‘what if’ rather than ‘right now’.