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Top 7 mission trip myths demystified

Jan 25, 2017 | Darren Lung

Is One Of These Beliefs Holding You Back?

Over the last two years in my role as the National Director of Global Missions for P2C-Students, I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to talk to many students about their hopes, fears, and perception of what missions is all about.

Here are the top seven ideas surrounding mission trips that I often hear. The problem is that while they contain nuggets of truth, they are actually myths. Let’s unpack them together.

1. You Need A Special Supernatural Calling To Go

Are you over-spiritualizing the decision-making process? It is common to have the mindset: I don’t have a special, supernatural calling to go, so I’ll stay. But why not flip your paradigm?

After all, Jesus invited all believers to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” So, don’t complicate the missionary call. Instead of waiting for heavenly lightning, or a gut-feeling, take a step of faith to say “yes” by default. I unpacked this whole idea of calling more thoroughly over in this post. I encourage you to take time to dig into it if you are wrestling with this idea.

2. Only Super-Perfect-Glowing-With-Holiness Christians Need Apply

You might be thinking: “I’m not good enough to go! I’m not trained enough, equipped enough, and I don’t know enough to go on a mission trip.”

The good news is that you don’t need to be the super-perfect-glowing-with-holiness type of Christian to go. So, who can go? You just need to love Jesus, be on a journey of growth in your relationship with him, have a willingness and desire to share your faith, and have a humble attitude to learn from Jesus and from others. Jesus didn’t look for the superstars—he invited ordinary men and women to join in on the great adventure of Kingdom building!

“Jesus didn’t look for the superstars—he invited ordinary men and women to join in on the great adventure of Kingdom building!”

3. I’m Going To Save The World

Photo by JD Hancock

Before the start of the mission trip, you might be tempted to think, “I’m going on a mission trip! I’m a Christian superhero! Bad guys better watch out!”

But I’m sorry to tell you… you are not the saviour of the world. BUT, thankfully, Jesus is! And in his graciousness, he will give you countless opportunities on a P2C-Students Global Missions trip to make an eternal difference as you walk in the Spirit and allow him to work in you, and through you each day. As you trust him to make meaningful connections with friends from a different culture, and as you intentionally seek to share the great news with them, you will be surprised at how God uses you to make a deep and lasting impact.

4. Mission Trips And Fun Shouldn’t Mix

You know that Bible verse that says, “Thou shalt become holy through always being miserable”? No? Me neither! It’s a myth that missions and fun just shouldn’t mix. I can remember so many times on various mission trips, where I just had to pinch myself because I was thinking, “Is this a dream?”

A key part of any missions trip is connecting relationally with your friends, and how do you connect with friends? By having fun! From learning how to surf with my friends in Peru, to visiting a friend’s ancestral home in the middle-of-nowhere East Asia, to eating all sorts of things that you didn’t know were edible like donkey brain, scorpion, camel burgers, horse sushi (maybe that doesn’t sound so fun to you). You will have some of the best times on a mission trip.

Now don’t hear me saying that mission trips are a glorified vacation. They are not! But in all of the ministry work that you will do, there will be many moments of pure joy, laughter, and fun to be had.

“Now don’t hear me saying that mission trips are a glorified vacation. They are not! But in all of the ministry work that you will do, there will be many moments of pure joy, laughter, and fun to be had.”

5. Mission Trips And Suffering Shouldn’t Mix

Even though it’s an incredible adventure, it will probably also get really difficult and that’s not necessarily bad. The days are often long, hearts are often hard, the work is often slow.

You will work hard on a mission trip, because you are there with a purpose! But just because you are there with a purpose doesn’t mean it’s always smooth sailing or easy.

On a mission trip, you will find that in those moments where you have nothing left to give, the Lord will meet you just where you’re at. He will help you lean into him, and in that process, you will find him to be more precious than you ever could have imagined.

Photo by Benjamin Ng

6. I’m Only Going For Others, Not Myself

At the outset, you might think that your sole purpose in going on a mission trip is to bring the gospel to others who have never heard. And you are. There are thousands of people groups in the world today who still have little to no access to the best news in the world. But you will find that being a goer will change you deeply also!

As you learn to greater degrees what it means to walk in step with the Spirit, as you lean into God’s presence in hard times, and as you learn how to trust him for things like your financial and prayer support, you will find that the gospel isn’t only contained in a booklet, but applies to all of life. The gospel isn’t only for others; by constantly sharing the gospel, you will see that it’s for you as well!

 

7. Team… ?

Team? What about team? Isn’t it just about if I’m called to go on a mission trip?

As you think about going on a mission trip, don’t just think about yourself, but think about the team that God is assembling to reach the nations as well. God is inviting Jesus followers from all over the country to join him in his work all over the world.

Being on a team is one of the best things about going on a mission trip. Over the course of the trip, you will find that you become like family. Now, it’s not always easy being family. Together, you will live life, do ministry, meet new friends, pray, study the Word, and have fun.

“Being on a team is one of the best things about going on a mission trip.”

You may find that you end up spending almost every waking moment with someone from your team, which will probably be simultaneously irritating and joy-filled! It’s an opportunity to love by faith, which is never easy, but is usually rewarding. But isn’t that what family is like?

Loving your team might be hard work, but it’s work that will be rich and rewarding!

Don’t Let The Unknown Cloud The Opportunity

We are often afraid of the unknown, and a mission trip can seem like a daunting thing to commit to. But going on a mission trip can be a life-transforming experience—not only for those you are ministering to, but also yourself.

You will experience authentic, transformational community like never before.

You will grow in your faith.

You will be humbled.

You will have a ton of fun.

You will learn to endure and persevere through challenging situations.

And you will experience walking with God through deeper waters than you could have ever imagined.

Why not take the plunge and join us this summer around the world? The world is waiting.

Visit p2c.sh/globalmissions to find out where you can go this summer!

“You just need to love Jesus, be on a journey of growth in your relationship with him, have a willingness and desire to share your faith, and have a humble attitude to learn from Jesus and from others. Jesus didn’t look for the superstars—he invited ordinary men and women to join in on the great adventure of Kingdom building!” – Darren Lung

About the Author

Darren Lung

Darren is the National Director of Global Missions with P2C-Students. While on staff with P2C Students he helped launch ministries at Queen’s University and in East Asia. He also spent two years in Glasgow, UK. He is married to a fantastic woman, even though he told her, while they were in university, he would never, ever date her. They have three beautiful kids.

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