Sunday, March 19, 2006

Mission Trip Advice - #2

This is the second in a series of posts entitled "Mission Trip Advice." [Post #1 in the series.] So you have signed up to go on a mission trip, and maybe you don't know exactly what to expect. And you are maybe looking for some advice. What is one piece of advice that experts could give you?

Justin Long manages and is senior editor for Momentum, a magazine devoted to unreached peoples. He has linked at least once and commented here before. Here is some of Justin's advice:
1. Do not put anything before God. Do not push your organization, denomination or church as the greatest in the world. Do not make comparisons. In restricted-access nations, the scarcity of workers often leads to partnerships you would not often think possible. Do not automatically assume these partnerships are bad. Go as a servant to the local workers.
2. Do not introduce new concepts, ideas or doctrines that take away from the work of locals. You are only going to be there for a short time. Lift up the local work wherever possible. Realize you are not likely to achieve in a few days what locals have not achieved in years. You are part of a process; you are sowing seed. Ask how you can best serve those who are coming after you.
3. Live a pure life as a witness for Christ. Watch what you say and do. You are in a different culture and you may find temptations in unexpected places.
4. Honor times of rest and worship. Be sure to keep fellowship with the rest of your team. Do not let anything divide you. Remember stress and culture shock can bring out the worst in peopleƂ?including you. Be open, transparent, full of grace and forgiving.
5. Honor the local workers, so that you will stay long in the land where you are serving. Security is often a big concern in restricted-access countries. Obey any restrictions that they place upon you, realizing these are for their protection as well as for your own. Honor the local government, "rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar's." The country's political system may be different from what you are used to. However, this "foreign" system may work well for the locals. Political debates are not likely to push local ministry forward.
6. Do not "murder" ministry options with idle talk. There are many complex situations on the field which you, with a few weeks' experience, are not equipped to solve.
Read the rest of his recommendations in the article entitled Ten Suggestions for Short Term Workers.

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