Why are you going on that mission trip? Why are the members of the team going? These are important questions, but do we ask them often enough? Are they part of our planning and preparation? Or maybe we've done mission trips so often we just do them. Or even if we haven't done a mission trip before, it's the thing to do. After all, it's summer, mission trips are transformative, and it's the only time we'll have the young people able to give devoted time to an activity. Maybe the only way. So, why are we going? When we state our reason, how much is God in Christ a part of that reason? Is it about us (adults and youth), our needs, and how much we'll gain or is it about God and God's call to us? Where do the people to whom we're sent fit? How do we see them? Are they equals or are they people we pity? What do we already know and will learn about them? Do we go to be with them or to serve over above them? Do we even go to people or do we just go to projects?
You'll have to blame Don Richter's book, Mission Trips that Matter for this. His chapter entitled, "Why We Go" (Richter 2008, 29-32)raised some questions/issues and triggered my thinking about this and reminded me of concerns I have had over the years.
Before you start your journey, how can you figure:
~~Where God is in it all,
~~To whom you go,
~~How can you learn about the people to whom you go?
~~How can this "trip" be about God and God's people and not about things?
Loving God, Loving Neighbor