I doubt very many people would disagree with the fact that missions trips are important. They are a positive experience for everyone involved. They are often used of God to change the course of a believer’s life and ministry. But let’s face it: planning and executing a missions trip is a lot of work.
I believe there are many pastors and youth pastors that love the thought of taking a group from their church to visit a missionary on the field. But the thought of planning, organizing, fund raising, and doing everything else is just too much to add to their plate. It’s a good idea … for the future.
If that is you, let me take a moment to share why missions trips matter. More importantly, why they matter enough to not put them off. They are far too important. Our latest group trip to the Peten jungles of Guatemala reminded me of a few things:
- Church members will be revived. Our team of twelve included a deacon, choir members, teachers, an usher, family members, a college student, and a teen. God stirred their hearts for the kingdom of God, to get out of their comfort zones, and to have a renewed passion for the lost in their community. What church does not desperately need this?
- Missionaries will be encouraged. By the providence of God, we were in Guatemala at a moment when our host missionary family was facing a serious ministry challenge. At one moment we were surrounding the missionary wife praying for her husband’s life and protection! Beyond that, they had gotten some disturbing news from “back home.” This young family was faithfully serving their Lord in a remote part of the world, sacrificing more than we will ever know, and we were able to be up close to love them in a personal way. What missionary does not desperately need this?
- Pastors will be refocused. On a personal note, each time I am privileged to visit a missionary on the field, God refocuses my heart on what is most important in ministry. I preach with more passion. I lead with more clarity. I see the “forest” instead of just the “trees.” It makes me wonder how I could have gotten so distracted. What pastor does not desperately need this?
I believe missions trips ought to be an ongoing part of the ministry life of a local church. Don’t just dream about it – do something. Contact a missionary. Add it to your calendar. Post a sign-up sheet. Prepare for God to change your life and your church.