Mission trips...Why do they bug me?


#1

Ok, so maybe I’m out to lunch on this topic and please feel free to reel me back in but, there is just something about people who feel called of God to go to some far away location asking for money to support their “calling.” If God truly wanted them to go would He not open the door and make provision? Didn’t the first disciples do this? Sometimes I feel that I am being asked to support their holiday to another country when they are perfectly capable of working and sending themselves. Off topic but kind of like the guy who came into the office where I work and wanted his fee discounted because he didn’t feel he should dip into his RRSP fund to pay for treatment :face_with_raised_eyebrow:
And recently this just blew my mind when someone suggested a money making venture to help fund their mission trip; Buy Jesus infinity bracelets from China for $1 and sell them for $5. Really???
I can’t help but think there are more people who are being motivated because it makes them feel good rather then actually being called to a mission field and trusting God for provision.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against people spreading the good news. I just think that it has become somewhat of a gong show of self indulgent, entitled people looking more for adventure rather than self sacrifice.


#3

I can’t find one thing wrong with anything you just said.


#4

Thank you Chad, I appreciate the confirmation. And you too Jon :wink:


#5

If you’re out to lunch then I’m sitting right across from you! :blush: I stopped supporting foreign missions years ago. My mission field is wherever I’m at, especially in my own home.


#6

Thats what I think too PM_in_TN! Nice having lunch with you :wink:


#7

I hope this doesn’t sound preachy, but I think it’s far more important to figure out what he’s called us to do, and to lend our support to things that seem to be bearing good fruit, than to distract ourselves with what he’s called others to do and trying to discern whether they are doing them correctly or not. In fact, I’d say he’s actually instructed us multiple times not to fall into this trap. At least that’s the way I read it. Like Paul said:

Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. - Romans 14:4

Paul was pretty adept at keeping his focus on Christ. I think we should do likewise. Otherwise, we just lapse into grumbling and complaining about others. Not to mention, the way we view others comes back to bless us or bite us in the end:

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” - Luke 6:37-38

Let’s not forget, not only was Paul was very adept at focusing on Christ alone, but he encouraged all of us to do the same:

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave… Philippians 2:5-7

Personally, I think this was his secret for not getting distracted by what others were doing or why they were doing it. Even when confronted with ministers who preached the Gospel for false motives, such as personal gain, what did he say?

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. - Philippians 1:18

I think if Paul could keep a positive attitude—and even rejoice—in preachers with clearly corrupt motives, maybe we could extend a bit more grace toward people doing mission trips, regardless of the “why”. At least that’s my thought.


#8

Thanks for your comments Richard but I reiterate that it’s not the “why” that bugs me; it’s the “how.” As I said I am not at all against people spreading the Good News; it’s the sense of entitlement that they shouldn’t have to spend their own money to go where God has called them to go. And I truly believe if God has called them to go He will also provide the way. Rather, they expect and depend on the good will of others, some who may be in a less fortunate position to finance their expiditions. I think Jon Kneble made an interesting point about that in his reply.
Looking forward to hearing about your upcoming TED talk!!!


#10

I agree, Richard! After struggling for a long time I realized it’s not my calling.


#11

Me too, @PM_in_TN. I was one of the pastors at a church where another pastor who preceded me had a real heart for missions. (In fact, he eventually transitioned into the “missions pastor” role which is why his former position opened up.)

And even though I kept some of the previous mission efforts in my department going—such as yearly trips to work at an orphanage in Reynosa Mexico—it wasn’t really my gift.

That’s not to say I didn’t get a lot out of it, and I certainly have no regrets about doing it. But it took awhile to get over the guilt that I didn’t have a real burden for it the way he did, and to admit I would probably see more fruit by focusing on my own wheelhouse.


#12

Man, oh man! The things I’ve shamed myself for not feeling guilty about. To truly receive healing and freedom through the power of Christ alone is so humbling and wonderful!


#13

There are many bugs on a missions trip.


#14

And scorpions too, if you go to some of the mission fields I’ve gone to! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#15

My daughter and I have gone on several oversees short-term mission trips where we determined not to spend any of our own personal funds for the mission portion of the trip. (Souvenirs, tourist events, on the trip we paid for.)

Rationale:

  1. Paul in Philippians 4:15-19 right after telling of his contentment with all situations – "both having abundance and suffering need – speaks of the partnership “of giving and receiving” that he has with these saints. In 1 Corinthians 9 he seems to be discussing the right of soldiers and missionaries to be funded but his choice – in serving them – to self-fund through his tent-making work.

  2. We recognized that we we’re giving two weeks of time off work (all of my vacation time) and hours of preparation training to go in service to others in the name of Jesus.

  3. This was something we we’re able to do, where others – due to responsibilities, health limitations, or lack of other resources – were not able to. We were seeking others in “giving and receiving” who would be blessed by being partners with us – before, during, and after the trip.

  4. The work was not something the mission-locals were able to do: visit one-on-one in English conversation (with an American English native speaker) using the Gospel of Luke as a conversation text. (We invested 40 hours each a week in these face-to-face conversations about Jesus)

  5. I wanted my daughter to have experienced God’s provision in doing Good work. We did not pressure anyone to financially support us – appreciated and communicated with prayer partners as well. Partners were from low-resource settings – giving $20, to high-resourced families – giving $1,000. All were thanked, appreciated, and able to be valued partners in the 320+ hours of conversation about Jesus that the team of four participated in.

  6. I knew of this opportunity to serve due to a college student (likely ten years earlier) requesting my partnership in their trip. I had been blessed then by their “friend-raising” effort and trip.