Schools are out soon! Vacation time is coming. Churches have been planning summer mission trips. Here are a few things to consider before heading out to the country or state where you will serve:
- Make sure that what is needed is what the people need, and not just what your church is good at and that will make your church feel good doing. Good coordination between your church and the missionary /national church on the field will go a long way to make the trip truly strategic.
- Make certain that the project is something that will help the entire community, not just a few people in the community. A water well that benefits many is better than just one house that creates envy / strife after you are gone, for example.
- Make sharing the Gospel the primary aim and use social work / compassionate work in balance. There will always be those that want whatever you are giving, building, doing, etc and will feign interest in the Gospel to get that thing. Don’t stop doing some good things but on the other hand, make sharing Jesus and developing ministry points that others can follow up later the priority!
- Make sure that someone on the field (missionary, church in that country) is going to follow up with those folks interested in or that accepted Jesus. Be certain that contact information given (telephone numbers, emails, addresses) is passed along to someone that will go back and continue to make disciples out of the harvest gathered!
- Spend time praying for the people to be visited. Pray for the mission team. Pray for the work to be done. Pray for safety. Study all you can about where you are going and try to learn a few words and what is culturally appropriate to say and do – as well as things to avoid!
- Do take photos to show back home. Do avoid taking indelicate photos and posting them on Facebook – national brothers and sisters have digital devices and you may unwillingly post something that you think is innocent but may offend them. Ask yourself before posting – would I want someone to take this photo of my country? Of my family? Of this suffering?
If you do these few things, no doubt your summer missions experience will be a good, strategic trip that will glorify Christ, bless the national partners, and leave everyone feeling good that God used you to advance His Kingdom!