Why Pray, Prepare, Give, Go?
Midtown Baptist Temple is serious about missions and missionaries. As a church we are striving to grow in such a way that furthers God’s kingdom to the furthest corners of the earth. We have come to define our church's responsibility to missions in four ways: pray, prepare, give, go. Let’s take a moment to consider what that means...
Pray: It was those who were not with him “on his trip” who Paul asked to pray for Him in 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2:
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. Especially for those who cannot go, for which team(s) will you pray? Sign up on that team as a prayer partner.
Prepare: For those of you who were at the Mission Focus conference this year, our guest speaker Jeff Bartell took some time to address how to preparing for the mission field. (http://mbtkc.org/sermons/message/proven-or-passive).
He said, “A call to missions is a call to preparation”. As a young person you have the unique opportunity to prepare and train at a higher capacity than other believers. Think about it this way, preparing for a mission trip is a short-term exercise we can call an “intensive”. It is a concentrated time of training, preparing us to do what we should be doing all the time. A mission trip requires using your resources for His mission—your money goes to buy tickets, your time is spent learning another culture, so you can effectively communicate truth, you pray, and partner with dedicated missionary minded people as you focus on the mission, etc. This “intensive” is a preparation tool for your life, not just the next trip. Even if you cannot go, consider joining a team and get what you can.
Give: In Philippians 4:17 we read about missions giving, Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. Congratulations, you have an account in the Bank of Banks. How is your account balance? One way to invest eternally (Bible students read Prov 10:5) is to give to support missions. One fallacy to be aware of, is that many think that they cannot give because they do not have much money. The widow did not have much, but gave what she had and it counted for more, not less, right? Give regularly out of what you have and do not worry about what you do not have. $5/month adds up. Join a team and give to support the trip, even if you cannot go.
Go: God might tell you not to go on a mission trip, in that case, have peace, but otherwise, everyone should try to go on a trip. Why would you not go? Perhaps you bought a piece of land and must go see to it, or you bought some new oxen, or got married? That sounds familiar (Luke 14:18). Nothing wrong with land, oxen, and spouses of course, but when things of this world become excuses for why we cannot be part of God’s program, then we have a problem. If you cannot go this year, then pray about when you can go, but, you make time for what is important to you. If you cannot deliberately plan for, save for, trust God for, and pray for a trip soon, consider that your heart’s desire needs a reboot.
Deciding Where to Go
The following is a series of thoughts that should help direct us to which trip might be right for us. Obviously different trips will offer different opportunities. The list is not comprehensive, but it will get us started picking a trip.
God’s Leading: For which people group does your heart burn? Go to them.
First Trip? Malawi or India probably will not be good first trips for most. Good first trips include: Tampa, Cost Rica, Jamaica, Spain, and New Hampshire. Vietnam and Taiwan require more independence, and travel experience is preferred.
Culture: Trips within the US such as Tampa and New Hampshire will require an understanding of culture, but not to the extent an international trip will require. The farther away you get physically, linguistically, and socioeconomically, the greater the culture gap will be. So, if you want training and experience in a culture outside of your own, consider an international trip. The Taiwan trip is interesting in that one aspect is sharing American culture with the Taiwanese. Our U.S. trips include: Baltimore, Tampa, and New Hampshire. Our international trips are: Costa Rica and Jamaica which are near cultures, Spain (LFF trip) which is a near culture, Vietnam, Malawi, Taiwan, and India (possibly) which are not near cultures.
Trip Length: Trips that are longer are obviously harder to fit into your busy schedules. But, if a trip is too short it can seem like a long weekend away. Longer is better if you can make it work. If you cannot make a long trip work, shorter is better.
Some of you are convicted to do a longer term trip, several months or even a year serving. If this is your burden, sit down with Pastor Brandon or I to discuss if this is a viable option or what might be required to prepare for that kind of missions experience.
Focus: How is it you feel led to serve? Or what is it you feel compelled you need to learn? In other words, what is God showing you need from a missions trip. For example, if children’s ministry is an area in which you need to grow, then consider Costa Rica. The trip there focuses on children. Spain—youth camp supporting Eliseo, Malawi--discipleship and evangelism, Tampa-- evangelism and Fall Festival, India—pastor training, Vietnam—evangelism and discipleship, Taiwan—English language and culture as bases for relationships, Jamaica—evangelism with Bob Westin, New Hampshire—evangelism, work projects and event, GG conference—Missions discovery. Greater Grace and Israel trips are very good, but there is less doing, and more seeing on those trips. Do you need to do something that is leadership oriented? teaching? serving? evangelizing?
Team Building and Logistical Training: Ministry must be of God, not for God, but, as spiritual as it is, a lot of ministry preparation is really learning to work with others (die to self) and putting your hand to the plow doing the work required. Trips that have events and projects will have more opportunity for you to function as part of a team. The challenges and victories that come from doing so are invaluable. Our trips that have planned projects or such events include Tampa, New Hampshire, Costa Rica, and probably Spain (LFF trip).
Physical Difficulty: 30 hrs of travel is difficult, sitting for long periods of time is actually very hard for some. So is going without showers, walking long distances, carrying things, sleeping on the floor, chafing. Who thinks about chafing?--You might 5 miles into a hike into the jungle. Please make sure you know the physical requirements for a trip before you sign up. If you will need to sleep on the floor in India, then try it for a week at home and make sure you are not too soft for the trip. Once we are there, it is too late to decide you cannot sleep on the floor. It will be a long week for you. On the floor. Key thought—in order to stay ready, you should stay in shape, stay tough, and stay willing.
Available Missions Trips for 2018
Below is a list of all of our upcoming missions trips. Please take the time to visit the links and learn more about each individual trip. Contact the trip leaders with your questions. Pray about whether or not the Lord is calling you to participate.
New Hampshire - April and August 2018
Costa Rica - June 6 - 14, 2018
Vietnam - June 16 - 30, 2018
Malawi - June 24 - July 8, 2018
Greater Grace Conference (Baltimore) - June 25 - 30, 2018
Taiwan - June 30 - July 15
Jamaica - July 2018
Tampa, FL - Fall 2018
India - December 2018