Often times it's hard to know your part on a mission trip, and here at Mission Discovery, we work hard to assist our participants in getting their spirits and minds in the best place for life change. To do this, one of the things we like to focus on is the three key elements of being an effective mission trip team. As a person on a mission trip, you come as a learner, servant, and story teller. Let's dig deeper into what these three things mean to us as missionaries.
“And Jesus grew in wisdom, stature and size, in favor with God and in favor with man.” Luke 2:52
Jesus no doubt was the best "question asker" ever. Each of his questions, in a sense, asked the listener to go deeper. I don't fully know how the all knowing God-Jesus grew in wisdom, but I believe He sets the example for us to be seekers of His wisdom. Prayer is one aspect of learning, seeking God's guidance. Approaching another culture as a learner may mean setting aside some of my knowledge of "how it should be done" to understand how the culture I am serving does something and abiding by that so as to not offend those that you're serving. This doesn't mean you need to violate a principle of scripture, just to seek to understand. Be a learner while serving others.
“After that he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe [them] with the towel tied around his waist.” John 13:5
This act of washing the disciples feet as done by Jesus, his bending down, is actually a demonstration of the very act of coming to earth. He stepped from Heaven to enter the earth and His purpose was to serve. Andy Andrews in his book Mastering the Seven Decisions asks the question, "What can you do to begin or continue a servant's spirit?" Asking your team to commit to acts of servant-hood before a trip, talking about the experience, and then making it a priority for your mission trip is essential. We are in a new country, state, or city to serve others, and ultimately this shows Christ's love and good news to those we serve.
3. Story Teller
Each of us has something unique about us. Something worth telling. It is the story of our journey in life and God's intervention, compassion, and care for us along the way. At Mission Discovery we help leaders prepare their teams to be "Story Tellers". Giving them the tools to help each mission trip participant tell their story in just 5 minutes. Go on any Mission Discovery trip and you could point to any participant and say for example, "Bob, while we are visiting this family here in Sowetto when it is appropriate would you tell your story?" I love that part of our work. Everyone is prepared! Public speaking is among the greatest fears of men and women. Mission Discovery pre-trip training helps a participant be better prepared, so the fear subsides.
I had to opportunity to go on a trip this past summer to Puerto Rico with Mission Discovery, and throughout that week we focused so much on being learners, servants, and story tellers, and absolutely every person on that trip grew in various ways, along with those that we served during the trip. It opened the door for life change. Today, take these key elements into your day. Learn, serve, and tell your story.