Have you been on a mission trip? Have you ever thought about how you will serve the God of the Universe?
I was recently blessed with an amazing opportunity to join a mission trip through a local church in Decatur, Illinois. We served in Cincinnati, Ohio. Serving was an experience unlike anything I’ve ever done.
Everything about the local mission trip was amazing—the people I knew and met, the work we did, the service projects, and especially the worship services and small groups.
But that being said, I want to encourage others, especially young men, to go on a mission trip with their brothers and sisters and local churches. If my short praise wasn’t enough, here are 7 reasons you should go on a mission trip.
1. You meet new people.
130 people came on the mission trip from my church along with two other churches. That’s a lot of new people. A mission trip doesn’t just give you the opportunity to meet unique people that have similar life views as you do, but to grow closer to faces you already recognize. Strangers that go to the same church aren’t strangers anymore.
2. It teaches self dependency.
In Cincinnati, we stayed at Cincinnati Christian University, and lived a week of dorm life. It was up to us to go to bed at appropriate times, clean ourselves, make it to breakfast, and even wake up when we wanted to (though my iron brother, Egan, and I slept in almost too much!). It’s up to you to make it to the events with your group, and if you don’t leave ready, you’re not leaving ready. You have to be responsible for yourself and your own belongings. The leaders help along the way, but it’s up to you to maintain a manageable schedule.
In case you've forgotten, @emans_tech is taller than me, but I have the advantage of a hill here. In fact, there were hills everywhere in Cincinnati, and the CCU campus was on a hilltop, and boasted a phenomenal view. It was one heck of a week, and I'm glad I spent it with everyone I did. #missionstrip #cincinnati2017 #kingofmyheart
3. You forge lasting relationships.
During the mission trip, I went to each work site and attended each small group, even traveling in the same van with the same five people the entire week. My leader, someone I vaguely knew before the trip, is now someone I can count on to help keep me accountable to my promises to God. The other guys in my van are closer to being my brothers, and my brother by iron, Egan, was the one guy I practically never left. And on top of those brotherly relationships, I met a few girls that are amazing, and one in particular that I’m especially glad I met.
4. You grow closer to God.
The theme of our trip this year was King of My Heart, and it stressed the importance of making God the king of your heart. During the mission trip, I was surrounded by like minded believers and amazing worship services in the chapel, and small group discussions that took place outside in the dark. Until the mission trip, I had never raised my hand in surrender to God in a worship service. Now it’s something I crave. God has been the King of my heart, but now it’s more real. As a result of all the spiritual stimulation from the mission trip, it’s hard not to leave a changed man.
5. A mission trip influences vulnerability.
I went in with my biggest struggle being kept hidden from everyone else. On Thursday night, the last night of Chapel before leaving the next day, they had us write down our chains—the sins we struggle with most—on a piece of paper and put it in our pockets. Then we started the second part of worship and had our closing prayer. Before we were dismissed, the pastor told us we were telling everyone in our small group what we wrote down. My fears had been realized, and my sin was made known. I was incredibly vulnerable, as were my brothers. As a result of that vulnerability, I’ve made progress against a sin I’ve fallen to way too many times.
6. You learn to serve.
The whole premise of a mission trip is to serve other people. We sorted clothes for people in third world countries. We also hosted block parties with free food, games for kids, and real conversations with locals. It was a safe place spreading the authentic love of Christ. In the midst of the servitude, God was doing a work inside of all of us. Perhaps you aren’t the best at putting other people first. A mission trip will encourage you to think of others. Everything you do on a missions trip is for the sake of others and their benefit, and yet you benefit, too.
7. God can use a mission trip to change you.
You leave a changed man. I’ve already said that before, but it’s so true! The whole atmosphere radiates change and the desire to change is felt every day. That’s God. His presence is undeniable in such circumstances. He’s there, watching you, guiding you, and bringing you closer to Him. A mission trip is one of God’s many ways of influences change in your life, while using you to change others.
It changed me.
But a mission trip is only effective if you have the desire to change, and actually change. God did His part, now it’s my turn to keep up with the work He started in my heart…to keep Him as the King on my heart’s throne.
I still look back on Cincinnati, even though it was only a few weeks ago, and I will remember this for years to come. It impacted me, influenced a new mentality and enlisted genuine change—it can do the same for you.