“If you happen to get around to it please go to the Nations.”
“If you could squeeze a few extra dollars out of your budget for missions, I would appreciate that.”
“I would really appreciate you starting a church and for the first 100 or so years of existence don’t bother getting involved in missions.”
These are all statements Jesus NEVER made.
The church has been commanded and commissioned to go to the nations (Mt 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15; Lk. 24:44-49; Jn. 20:21; Acts 1:7-8). These were the final words Christ said to His Church. Why would he have told His people to go rather than staying in our buildings? While there are many theological reasons why we should go, I want to share a practical reason for doing local, national, and international missions. Missions unifies the church.
I serve at a church that has been in existence for over 150 years. This church had never been out of the country on a mission trip. They had gone to Kentucky, North Carolina and places close, but had never seen another culture (outside of the Lottie Moon videos). Everything changed this summer. We went on a seven day trip to Costa Rica. There were many great things that came out of that trip. People were saved, others were called to full-time missions, and many strong relationships were built, but there is one thing that happened that I had never seen before.
Missions unified the church! It served as an agent that unified the people in raising the funds to go. People would come in droves to help, give, and volunteer during the fundraising campaigns. The church came out and spent time with the team, prayed over the team, and spoke words of encouragement to the team. It was as though something had shifted in the church completely, and it had.
For the first time in a long time, the church saw the Mission of God as a reality. They no longer just heard, “Go therefore into all the nations” but now they were actually going to all the nations. It wasn’t just praying for, giving towards, or thinking about missions. It was being a part of missions.
Local, national, and international mission trips breed excitement. It breeds the opportunity to go and share the Gospel in a completely different context. It breeds the fun, lively, and often lost passion of the people going and not going. I am convinced that while there is nothing as life changing and unifying as a mission trip.
Local, national, and international mission trips bond students with adults. It thrusts them into a situation of reliance on one another that is different than anything they have ever been a part of. What a great opportunity, in such a rich culture as ours, to unify for the mission of God to the nations. I promise you this, take a trip to a different culture or a different continent, and your church will never be the same.
When we returned and shared what God had done on the trip, how He changed lives, our trip for next year doubled in size. People want to be a part of something special and God ordained. Missions is an agent that unifies the Church.