Last summer, the elders of Cityview Bible Church challenged our congregation to tell the world the good news that Jesus is alive. In our current ministry year (2017-2018), our goal was to send 100 Cityview members on a short-term mission trip. We knew that if we could get people to step out in faith and get involved in God’s work around the world, it would change their lives forever.
As the end of our ministry year approaches, where are we in hitting our goal? We have three mission trips left to send out this summer (Haiti, Chicago, and New Mexico). After those three teams complete their trips, we will have sent out 168 people from Cityview on a GO trip! And here’s the amazing part: for 98 of them, it will have been their very first mission trip. How cool is that?! In addition, we have seen 2 more families commit to long-term missions. Wow!
As men, women, students, and children from Cityview have participated in global outreach trips, what have we learned as a church? A few key lessons stand out to me:
1- Anyone can go. We have seen people of all ages and stages of life participate in missions this year. God has used a variety of personalities and spiritual gifts on every single team. Many that I have talked to about going this year have expressed insecurity about their ability to meaningfully contribute to a mission team. What have seen over the last 12 months? Anyone can go and make a significant contribution to their team.
2- Everyone deserves to hear. On all of our trips, we have encountered people who have never heard the good news that God loves them and sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross and rise from the dead to forgive our sin and reconcile us to Himself forever. Every team has returned asking the question, how can there still be people on this planet who have not heard what Jesus did for them? But the truth is that many have not heard and will not hear unless we go to them and share the hope we have in Christ.
3- Prayer is powerful. There is nothing like participating in global outreach to show you the limitations of your own abilities and the limitless power of God. Every mission team comes back in AWE of God’s love and power. Why? Because they were forced to depend on God in prayer. And God answered their prayers. The Spirit of God moves in power when the people of God get involved in Jesus’ mission. Again and again, we have seen God do the impossible in response to our desperate cries for help.
I know that my own involvement in missions over the years has radically changed my view of God and my perspective on the world. The Lord has used His global work to give me a heart of compassion for all kinds of people from every kind of background. If you have been involved in missions, how has the Lord used it to change your life? I’d love to hear your perspective.