The Gospel Coalition featured a podcast today from Nancy Guthrie’s latest Help Me Teach the Bible podcast. In the podcast, Nancy and Pastor Colin discuss how to teach the Old Testament book of Lamentations to grieving people. Nancy approached Pastor Colin about the podcast after reviewing his latest book called...
A few years back my wife and I took our first mission trip to Romania. Before we departed we were filled with expectations, uncertainty, and more than a little trepidation. What if we failed to live up to our call to minister to our Romanian brothers and sisters? What if we committed a cultural faux pas? What if we fell flat on our faces embarrassing the team and our church? Fortunately, we teamed up with some seasoned missionaries and were well prepared beforehand to handle the rigors of the trip.
With the mission focus well laid out by our team leaders and the Holy Spirit, the trip was a success. When we returned home and had time to process what we had experienced, we determined that we were hooked on serving in the mission field. As we approach another opportunity to go back into the field, I have been thinking about the reasons that we love it so much.
Go to Expand Christ’s Kingdom
God’s Word is clear when it states,
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)
While this passage was written for the disciples, it still applies to modern-day disciples. Someone needs to go and share the gospel so the whole world hears it. There are still some people who have never heard of Jesus Christ and his message of salvation and hope. What a high honor for someone like you to be able to tell them about him and his goodness! To do this, we must be willing and able to leave our comfort zone, pack our bags, and depart from home for an extended period of time to advance the gospel and help build his church.
Go to Encounter God’s Heart for the Nations
God loves and cares about all nations. All people matter to God. This is never more evident than when you step off the plane in another country and see the great need for the gospel in the eyes of its people. God’s heart is one of compassion, and he sends out his missionaries to be his ambassadors of grace, mercy, and love to the entire world.
Of course, his ultimate goal is to assemble a vast family that represents “every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9-10). When you travel abroad, you will see God’s love for the people, and you will see him as the Lord of the harvest. You will encounter him as you immerse yourself in the work of the gospel in a distant land. Who wouldn’t love a front row seat to God’s heart in action?
Go to Bless and Be Blessed
Before our first trip were repeatedly told that the number one rule of mission trips is be flexible. Arguably the second rule is be a blessing. When my wife and I set out for Romania, we were determined to be just that.
Scripture states in Acts 20:35 that, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” The people you are going to visit are individuals who might need the gospel message. They might need some practical help, some encouragement, or some training to effectively to care for their people. They could use some blessings from you.
When I look back on our trip, however, it was the two of us who were blessed by our sweet, loving Romanian brothers and sisters. They opened their homes to us, fed us, and gave what they had to make us comfortable. They showered us with love and went out of their way to serve us, to show us their country and their culture. They were we just like us—followers of Jesus Christ. To this day, we are still in contact with many of them through social media. We are a part of their lives, and that is the best blessing of all!
Go on Mission Because of Jesus
Going on a mission trip means that you will sacrifice your time, talents, and money to serve others and do so in the name of Jesus Christ. This is arguably one of the highest honors a believer can receive—to be the mouth, hands and feet of the Lord—to be his co-laborer in the gospel.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38)
Jesus was a missionary for his gospel. He left his home in heaven and traveled to earth, committed to advancing the good news to all of us.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
He sacrificed everything, including his very life, to seek and save the lost. He went on the ultimate mission trip. If we want to reflect Jesus’ glory, shouldn’t we serve in the mission field as well? We go on mission because Jesus went on mission for us.
So believer, what should you do? For those of you still on the fence, can I challenge you to take the following action steps?
- Trust the Lord by doing something that stretches you.
- Encounter Christ afresh by seeing what God is doing in the four corners of the world.
- Pray for the nations.
- See your Missions Director, and sign up for a mission trip!