"Not-Good" Reasons to Not Go
This might not be the right time for you to go on a short-term missions trip. There could be many good reasons for that. But there are a few reasons people offer for not going that are not "good reasons". In case you feel the Holy Spirit calling you to go, but are finding any of these reasons standing in your way, I wanted to spend a little time on them in this update. "I can't afford it"
Being prudent stewards is a good thing -- but you may have more resources than you know. If you're in a strong, gospel-focused church, you'll likely find other people willing, even eager, to participate in your ministry by helping you get there financially. Some people plan from the start to "self-fund" their trip, but I think this should be discouraged. While the sacrifice is admirable, it deprives other believers of what might be their only opportunity to personally participate in the global great commission. Most people who go on these trips raise support to fund them. And I've never known someone to be unable to go due to lack of funds.
Additionally, it may be a problem of perspective. When I took my wife on our first (and so-far, only) cruise for our 30th Anniversary, it was enjoyable enough... but it put the cost of a missions trip in a different perspective! Why do we sometimes find it easier to spend money for a vacation, cruise, or new (or new-er) car than on a trip to share the gospel with those who've never heard it.
"It's too dangerous"
The world can seem a scary place these days, can't it? But even our "safe" cities and hometowns have their dangers -- and the most "dangerous" places on Earth can be safely visited by those who utilize appropriate caution.
Now, of course, there are no guarantees... but there are no guarantees of absolute safety here either. In November of 2017, the week after one of our teams returned from Asia, a gunman entered a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas (about 100 miles from my home) and killed 26 people. Statistically, our team would have been safer to stay another week as visitors in Asia, than to be found in a church in Texas on that day.
So, here's what we do to keep our teams safe:
We partner with local people who know the local risks and safety practices. Just as people in most US cities know certain parts of town are "not safe" -- so do our in-country partners. And we don't go to the places they steer us away from.
We stay in hotels that are NOT the major hotels frequented by tourists and business travelers.
We avoid large crowds that could become unruly.
We stay informed on unfolding news from a variety of sources that monitor security throughout the world.
"I'm not ready to share the Gospel"
For many of us, nothing motivates us to preparation like having a date marked on a calendar.. at which we know our preparation will be tested! On sports teams, the "big game" motivates us to practice. In school, final exams motivate us to study. At work, a completion date, grand opening, or annual review date prompt us to have everything in order by then. And, of course, let's not forget the recently passed tax filing deadline!
So here's my question: If you're not ready "yet", what in your history makes you think that you will be "someday" unless you take some action that gives some urgency to your preparation?
For each trip, we will provide training. And we will meet together as a team to help each participant prepare. If you're NOT ready, but want to be, we'll help you get there! Ready to step out on Faith?
So think it over again. Could this be the year that God wants to provide you with amazing spiritual growth, while at the same time reconciling some precious souls from another culture to Himself?
Let me know if this is your year to GO!