Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bottled Mission Trip

Paul, in his writings, gives us this picture of a church in which the Lord has placed many people with different abilities, each doing their own thing, but together accomplishing the purposes of God. While I see this all the time, nowhere has it been more clear than on Mission Trip. At the time of this writing, we've seen eight souls saved. We had a couple of gifted soul winners on this trip and the Lord put their gift to use. But they wouldn't have been able to do that without other members of the team identifying people for them to talk to, and that was made possible by members of the team gaining the trust of these people by helping them with home repairs. Of course, all of this was made so much easier because of a gifted administrator leading the team.

As we near the end of our trip, there is talk of "Why do we do this on mission trip but not at home? We need to continue this back in Fort Worth." While I understand the sentiment, I think we tend to encapsulate things like Mission Trip as if it were an experiment in evangelism that can be used to tell us what the church is doing wrong. We ought not think that. If we truly believe that the church is like a body working together, we should realize that the short-term mission team is bigger than the eighteen of us who loaded our tools on a trailer and drove to Albuquerque. Of course there was planning and fund raising that took place before we went. But there were other things that had to happen as well.

Most of the young people on this trip are people I once worked with in Awana. I had some impact on their development as did many others in our church. When I hear talk of doing stuff at home that is similar to Mission Trip, I don't see how I can do that without dropping some of the other things I'm doing. But part of our effectiveness on Mission Trip is due to training that has taken place in months a years leading up to it.

So what am I saying? Mission Trip isn't something we can bottle up and take home. That whole concept is backwards, because Mission Trip is the harvest that follows a lot of planting and watering. What the Lord enabled our team to do was to bottle what has been going on at South Park and pour it out over a dry, barren mobile home park. That's not to say that South Park has no room for improvement, but without the things South Park does, we wouldn't have been able to accomplish much.

Let's make improvements where we can, and let's pray to see a harvest in Fort Worth, but let us not fail to continue teaching or we won't have anything to bottle for future mission trips.