Last week I experienced a dreadful moment when the transmission in my car went out. If you know anything about cars, you probably understand why this is bad news. Not only did my car drive about as well as my pillow, but it would also require around $2,000 to get the transmission replaced so the car could get back on the road. A car with a bad transmission is like a book without words or a toy without batteries; it looks fine on the outside, but without that key element the object is unable to perform its primary function. In other words, it’s broken.
At Servant Life, thankfully we don’t deal with faulty transmissions or misprinted books, but we do believe that missions has a core ingredient that can’t be sacrificed: the gospel of Jesus Christ. If our ministry is lacking the proclamation of the gospel, we’ve missed the primary goal of ministry.
Engaging in ministry that lacks gospel emphasis is not only concerning and questionable, but at that point we have to ask the obvious question: is it really still considered Christian ministry?
It is our belief that ministry and missions are inseparable from the good news of the gospel. If our actions aren’t paired with the message of Jesus Christ, we are simply engaging in humanitarian aid and not truly ministering to those we come in contact with. Meeting physical needs and demonstrating the love of Christ through actions is very important—we can’t neglect this!—but we must also point people to the hope of Christ revealed through the Word of God.
That is not to say that every time we do as little as smile at someone that we need to stop and immediately share the gospel with them for fear of engaging in ministry the wrong way. But we do believe that the driving force behind our actions is clearly the love of Jesus Christ, and that the people we are interacting with need to understand that as well. More than showing people hope and love in this lifetime, we want to point them to a relationship with God that will continue for eternity.
This is why Servant Life has embraced the core value of “gospel-centered ministry.” We don’t want to send groups on mission trips simply to play games with children or host a sports camp—we want teams to proclaim the hope and love of Jesus Christ and invite people to trust in Him for salvation. We partner with missionaries and local churches who are engaging in year-round ministry to advance the gospel and further the Kingdom of God here on earth. We recognize that there are many challenges associated with cross-cultural ministry, but the one thing we are unwilling to compromise on is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
If you’re looking for gospel-centered mission trip opportunities, we’d love to talk more. You can view our full list of trips here, or contact us if you have a question. If you’d like to learn more about our four core values, check this out!
Zac Condie, Servant Life Director
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