Last night our church had a chili cook off. After the tasting, voting, and feasting there was a brief program featuring some recent and upcoming mission projects. I was asked to talk a little bit about my trip to Ukraine last summer. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
It got me thinking. Facilitating short term mission experiences could very well be the best thing the institutional church can do. Many churches have connections and contacts literally around the world. With a few phone calls and emails, you could be on your way to a transformational week.
I participated in one to Belize as a high school senior. As a youth pastor I led trips to Appalachia, urban centers, and the Navajo reservation in Arizona. While we did a bit of good in each project, God did much more in the lives of the participants. What I regret these days is I never organized one for my family. Hopefully we can correct that in the next few years.
The top three reasons I hear for not going are;
- I don’t have enough money to go
- I don’t have the time to go
- I’m afraid of the risk, we might not be safe
I’d like to push back on those.
Money – I’ve found that most of us have enough money for what we really want. It may take some organization. It will require some sacrifice. But budgeting, fundraising, and some miracles along the way are not unheard of. If you don’t believe me I’ll give you my friend Kathleen’s email address. She saved, earned and raised enough money to participate in the World Race. Kathleen will be serving in 11 different countries in 11 months this year.
Time – Over the years we’ve found plenty of time for sports camps, travel teams and vacations that were all about us. Just like money, we make time for the things we think are important. And speaking of “important,” some folks think they are so important, so irreplaceable that they don’t even use all the vacation time they’re awarded. Let me assure you: your employer and/or your business can function just fine without you for five days. A week serving others is the best investment of time you can make.
Risk – While I certainly wouldn’t take this issue lightly – it should not be a hinderance in doing something outside our sphere of comfort. After all, we are a people of faith, right? Christians in the US forget that we are some of the few in the history of Christianity where risk isn’t our daily companion. Lots of kids drop out of church because their bored. Many men hate church because it has become so feminized. Well, guys here’s a chance to man up and take your kids on a life changing adventure.
Would you consider it? There are tons of ways to serve and many places in need…for every budget, time available and family stress level. If you need any more ideas on how to get started, feel free to get back with me.