What Makes Up A Mission Trip?
Have you ever had a semantic miss understanding with someone before? I have and it has to be one of the most frustrating arguments I get into. You both think you are talking about the same thing only to find out that you mean two completely different things. Or you are arguing about something you disagree on and find out you actually agree? This happens in ministry circles and especially theological circles. In my last post I talked about how a missions component really fights selfishness in youth ministry, there is a lot of confusion as to what missions actually is. I want to mention what mission is and what mission is not.
- Mission is about spreading the gospel
Mission by the very definition is about the spread of the gospel. That is the mission! You cannot have a mission without a purpose. As believers our purpose is the spread of the gospel. The gospel must be spread. You can build house’s, dig wells, feed the homeless, or play with orphans; but without sharing the gospel it is nice humanitarian aid. Now I know that this is a very controversial statement. In mission circles there is a push to be “holistic” in our approach to missions. This means meeting people’s physical needs. I am all for meet the physical needs of people and that can lead to spiritual conversations, but here is the harsh reality: you can help someone their whole life with their physical needs but if they don’t have Jesus they are still going to hell. That is why you MUST share the gospel as well. If you divorce the gospel from mission it is no longer mission. Jesus dealt with these issues during his day: “For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me” Matthew 26:11. Now I know that he was talking about not spending time with him. But the truth is that he points out that no matter what we do to fix it, there will always be the poor. This is why the gospel is the only true answer to poverty. Because it fixes the spiritual state which is much more desperate than the physical.
Now I can here the objections so let me balance this out. You cannot simply meet the spiritual with out actually caring about the person physical state as well. James deals with this: “And one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” James 2:16. How we demonstrate that we care about people is a direct reflection on how we view the gospel and ultimately God.
- Mission is about the verbal proclamation of the gospel
If Mission is about the gospel, than the gospel is all about proclamation. Paul states this in Romans 10:14-17.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
One of the wost quotes in missionology (study of missions) history has been attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi is, “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words”. This is a nice cop-out for not having to verbal saying anything because actions speak louder than words. But this is not true. The gospel must be proclaimed by people for people to believe. If you just do good deeds then even the unbelievers do that…look at habitat for humanity. Look at all the celebrities that do humanitarian aid. What is the distinction between them and mission? It has to be the verbal proclamation of the gospel. Now this takes time sometimes and has to be done culturally and all of that. I know that and know that any missionologists that are reading this are cringing at what I just said, but I am giving that as an assumption to cultural sensitivity. But we do need to remember that the gospel is offensive to the unbelieving heart.
- Mission is not a vacation
This is the number one objection to Short term missions and understandably so. I don’t want to pay for someone else vacation. But mission is not about that. That is why at YMI we train before hand so that the students are equipped and prepared to serve. Proper training will weed out any misconceptions.
- Mission is ultimately about the Glory of God
Mission is all about the spreading of the good news so that every nation and tribe will worship God one day. As one notable theologian has stated, “Mission exists because worship doesn’t”. We see to make disciples not converts that will worship and glorify God forever.
I realized that there are many more things I can say so I think I am going to make this a multiple part post. Stay tuned in for part 2 next week.
Posted on March 12, 2013, in Church, Devotional, Gospel, International, Missions, YMI, Youth Ministry, Youth Missions International and tagged gospel, Mission, missions, YMI, Youth Missions International. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.