When our daughter and son were 15, each respectively left the country on a mission trip, Josh to Costa Rica, and then Hannah to Thailand a few years later. They have since been on many, and Josh has led more than one as a student pastor.
Have you ever been on a mission trip? If so, did you ever take such a trip to another country? Imagine for a moment your church gathered this coming Lord’s Day as usual, but this day would be anything but normal. Today the entire congregation is loading buses following the final morning service. Passports in hand, you head to the airport and board as a group. Why? Your entire congregation is heading to a city in Asia where the gospel has never been proclaimed. You have decided as a congregation to do something adventurous, something quite revolutionary for your church.
Upon arrival your church begins to team up with nationals and missionaries to begin loving and serving the city, sharing Christ at every opportunity. Children are loved, lives are helped, communities are changed, and the Good News is heard. After three wearying but gratifying weeks, your entire fellowship boards a jumbo jet and heads home, exhausted, jet lagged, but amazingly fulfilled.
Fast forward to Christmas season. Through video uplink, during your morning worship time you witness live the leaders of the church you helped to birth in that Asian city. For the first time in the history of the world, a group of Christ followers wishes your church a merry Christmas from that city. Never in the history of man has this happened from this city, and you were a part of making this happen. Don’t you think that would energize your church? No doubt many lives would be changed.
Here is the amazing news. This coming Sunday morning your church can do just that. Not the boarding a plane to Asia part, but every day believers across the United States awaken and step into the fourth largest unchurched nation on earth (some say we are now third).
You and I live in one of the largest mission fields in the history of the world.
Mission trips are a wonderful thing. I have been on many across the U.S. and around the globe. But what if you thought of life is a mission trip? What if you and I and every believer in the West took the posture of a missionary, and began to raise our children, approach our jobs, and look at our neighbors from the view of a missionary? It could be revolutionary.
Life is a mission trip. Take it! Cultivate that vision in your people and watch them begin to function like missionaries. And relive the book of Acts in your very lifetime. It will take a movement like that not only to reach the world, but also to reach the West.
[Note: this was adapted from my Evangelism Handbook (B&H Academic, 2009)].
Alvin L. “Doc” Reid serves as Senior Professor of Evangelism and Student Ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he has been since 1995. He is also the founding Bailey Smith Chair of Evangelism. Alvin and his wife Michelle have two married children: Joshua and his wife Jacqueline, and Hannah and her husband Corey. Hannah and Corey recently welcomed Doc’s first grandchild, Lincoln James. He also serves as Pastor to Young Professionals at Richland Creek Community Church. Alvin travels extensively speaking and has authored a number of books. His most recent is Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out (B&H Academic).