Just after landing from India I was greeted with the question, "How was your trip?" I didn't miss a beat. I went to places I couldn't pronounce, ate food I couldn't fully digest, and served alongside people I admired.
Every once in awhile, I got a different question, "How was your adventure?" That one took me off guard. Did I go on an "adventure?"
Fast forward 4 years, I became a missions mobilizer. I traveled to college campuses to speak with students about God's passion: filling the earth with worshippers from every nation, tribe, people, and language (Gen 1:28, Rev 7:9). So often I was the first person to introduce a crowd of faithful college students to the biblical theme of missions. It was exciting!
Other times, students thought it was lame, and to generate excitement I would find myself beating the drum of how "cool" adventure trips are. I mean... mission trips.
I realized there are multiple reasons for taking a mission trip -- and no one is always 100% altruistic. After spending years of meeting and listening to would-be missionaries, my one encouragement for those considering a cross-cultural mission trip: don't carry "ruins to ruins."
Missions shouldn't be adventures. I say that not as the old church curmudgeon that probably comes to mind. Adventures are for people searching for something external for internal fulfillment. But missions is for the internally-satisfied who joyfully gives through the repetitive, arduous task of making disciples.
Adventures are for people searching for something external for internal fulfillment. But missions is for the internally-satisfied who joyfully gives through the repetitive, arduous task of making disciples.
Getting on an airplane doesn't change who we are and crossing an ocean doesn't qualify us as missionaries.
Missions isn't for thrill-seekers looking for their next epic story, or for a broken person looking to be fixed. I say this because no matter where one goes, there they are.
Missions is for broken people who know-well the Source of Healing -- and can point others to Him. Missionaries are people who lay down their lives for the sake of extending worship where it isn't. It is difficult and toilsome.
My hope is that we wouldn't do missions to find ourselves. We leave our families and homes and in some cases our safety, to extend the greatest gift we've been given..
Need an thrill? Don't cross an ocean, cross your street -- and invite your Indian neighbor to their favorite restaurant. Need a soul-satisfying experience? Meet Jesus and make disciples.