Missions Outside of the Trip

By Liz Powers, Partnership Coordinator

I love mission trips, don’t you? I experience so much joy introducing visitors to my amazing community. Working alongside my neighbors on construction projects provides such a tangible platform to be the hands and feet of Christ. Worshipping with individuals from different parts of the country every evening is a blessing experienced in very few other platforms. Each summer I am more and more amazed at the ways the Lord uses the 9 weeks of mission trips here in Lorain County to transform and expand his Kingdom.

Lately, though, I’ve been challenged with this question: whether we participate in 1, 2 or 9 mission trips a yearwhat is the Lord’s calling for us during the remaining weeks? In the Great Commission, Jesus calls his followers to ‘Go and make disciples of all nations.’ Now mission trips are certainly a great avenue through which to carry this out, but something tells me Jesus didn’t intend this command to only hold value within the parameters of one week mission trips.

Is it possible Jesus is calling us to live on mission even outside of our mission trips? And if so, what does that look like?

In a familiar passage located in Luke 5, the Lord offers a fresh perspective on this question. In this section Jesus approaches Simon, James, and John in their hometown at their workplace. After an unsuccessful night at sea, Jesus meets with the three discouraged men and offers a bold suggestion. He challenges the fishermen to take a new perspective on their ‘normal’ by instructing them to go back out to sea, ‘push out into deep water, and let their nets down for a catch.’

As professionals in the trade, this body of water represented an area of great confidence and comfort in the lives of these men. Ironically- it’s where Jesus chose to shake them in a way that would alter the course of their lives forever. When they let Jesus take the lead, even the most mundane arena- their workplace- was transformed into grounds for a miracle to occur. The text says ‘When they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.’ Such a display ultimately led these three to ‘leave everything and follow him [Jesus].’

Today I write to you out of the seemingly ‘mundane’ here in Lorain County. I write to you with no ground breaking news coming out of a mission site. I write to you simply as a resident of Lorain who has developed a comfortable routine of going in and out of my place of work, spending time with friends, and keeping up with the chores of life. But I also write to you encouraged at the ways I am seeing the Lord on the move even within this routine. As I continue to press in deeper to this life on mission in Lorain County, I am thrilled to report the Lord actively encountering me to transform even the most ‘normal’ and ‘comfortable’ areas of my life.

As I mentioned previously, I love experiencing the Lord work through mission trips. But is it possible that, similar to the disciples, He is calling each of us also to ‘push out into deep water’ in the places we find most comfortable? Perhaps going forward we can choose to end our mission trips in celebration rather than tears, viewing these week long experiences as a point  from which we can jump back into our familiar routines with new energy and a new perspective. Maybe, by letting Jesus take the lead as we interact in our homes, schools, work places, college campuses, etc. we will begin to bear witness to the same life-altering transformation we experience on trips back at home, in our communities.

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