I recently Googled “common mistakes made in packing for a trip” and discovered that the most common mistakes cited were often demonstrated in my own preparations.
Summarizing the wisdom that was shared in these articles comes down to one specific point, “Know what to take with you, and know what to leave at home.”
It would be my advice for you to use this same wisdom in preparation for your summer mission trip. To help your preparation, I created a short packing list.
Pack the right purpose
As short-term missions are in-creasing in popularity, a plethora of reasons is being offered regarding why we are going on mission trips.Don’t get lost in a side purpose; the reason we participate in short-term missions is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
With the Gospel as our purpose, we now know who should join us (those who are currently sharing the Gospel), we know how to prepare our team (teach them to share the Gospel), and we know exactly what we will be doing when we get there (sharing the Gospel).
Of course, many mission teams use creative means to earn the right to share the Gospel, but do not lose sight of your ultimate purpose. Mission trips that are not centered on the purpose of sharing the Gospel are nothing more than spiritual tourism.
Pack a partnership
By definition, short-term mission projects are temporary. Their temporary nature adds to the high cost of participating, make many question their ultimate effectiveness.
Leaders who take the approach of engaging a different area each year may find that their efforts are as temporary as their trip.
The mission leaders who are willing to invest themselves in along-term strategy through partnering with a full-time missionary will find that their effective-ness can continue beyond the tenure of their trip.
Churches who engage a particular area for many years find that lasting relationships can be developed, a proper knowledge of the culture can be learned, and with the help of an indigenous missionary, their work can help and not harm the spread of the Gospel.
As Southern Baptists, we are part of one of the largest evangelical mission forces on the planet. There are plenty of places to discover new partnerships.Effective mission trips await those churches that are willing to stop organizing mission projects and start developing mission partnerships.
Pack all the people
One common mistake made by short-term missionaries is participating in missions by themselves. Missions shouldn’t be a solo enterprise; a few may actually go, but many others can help send. In your preparations this year for your mission trip, think creatively about how you can involve the entire church. For example, some can help fund, help collect, help pray, help pack, etc. This way, the entire church can be on mission together.
IBSA is ready to help lead your church through every part of your project. Visit IBSA.org to learn about IBSA-sponsored mission trips you can be part of in 2020.