Now What?

17 Jul

Last week a group from our church went on a mission trip and had a great time. God used them in wonderful ways and God blessed them with the privilege of serving and loving others. I have heard more good things about this trip than most of the other trips our church has been on. I praise God for this.

My heart’s desire is always that the good that was begun in the mission trip experience is continued in the lives of each participant. In recent weeks there have been some articles around the internet questioning whether mission trips are worthwhile, or whether it would be better to just send money to missions that need it. I am sure there can be wasteful trips, but most of the ones I have seen have been extremely valuable for the participants. To be sure, they bless those they serve, but I think the greatest blessing comes to those who go. And this is a good thing. Eyes are often opened to the awesome needs all around us. Exposure to other cultures, even in our own country, is a blessing. I think mission trips are great, for young people and for adults.

But what do we do when the mission trip ends? I think there are several things that can be done to help anyone see the benefit of a mission trip continue.

1. Continue to cultivate intimacy with God. Most people on a mission trip are locked in with their life of fellowship with God. Most mission trips have special times of worship, special speakers, small groups and other means of growing in our walk with God. We will not have all of these things when we get home but we will have some of them and we should continue to use them. I was impressed by the number of people who went on our recent mission trip who were in Church Sunday morning even though they had arrived back from their destination in the wee hours of the morning. Take advantage of worship services. The music may not be rocking but the powerful Word of God is still there. Your fellow believers are still there. And there are still opportunities for you to walk with God through the week in your own time with Him and through small groups.

2. Continue to be involved in ministry. Don’t just fade back into your life, let your acts of service on the mission trip motivate you to serve others now. Your ministry will not be the same as what you had on your trip but there are always countless opportunities to serve. Find the place God has for you and get involved. You are not trying to duplicate the mission trip experience, you are trying to carry on the spirit of service emphasized on the trip.

3. Think about ways you can support those who remain. When you have been to a place and it has touched your heart, you want to keep blessing that place. Those you worked with would be blessed by letters and cards of encouragement. Your prayers will be a blessing to many of those with whom you worked. There may be other tangible ways you can support the ministries where you have worked on your mission trip.

4. Encourage others to go. Your good experience can serve as a way to encourage others to involvement in missions. You can be an inspiration to others as you share your experience. In this way, God can use you to help send others into missions. That is one of the most exciting things in which you can be involved.

 

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