This evening, I spent time with my son reviewing where he stands in his preparations for his first short term missions trip. Now, he lived in Singapore as a “missionary kid” for nearly eight years–but this adventure to Africa is a brand new step for him.
Meanwhile, I am prayerfully awaiting news as to whether or not my own short term trip to Asia is going to come together.
Are either or both of these trips worth it? I believe so–and Julian Linnell points to four ways where we can avoid so called Christian tourism. Tourism most commonly involves an element of escape and an element of feeling good about oneself. Christians do need to take sabbath and step back from their labors and the demands of daily life. Likewise, it is a good thing to experience the satisfaction of honest work–after all, God placed Adam in the garden “to work it and to keep” (Genesis 2:15).
Julian Linnell offers four areas in which such trips can be fruitful: Discipleship, Leadership, Partnership & Worship. In each of these areas, the focus shifts to the question of what is God doing?
In the context of our own parish, I see these mission trips as visible reminders that we are connected to the Global Church and that we serve a God with a purpose and plan big enough for the whole world. Yes, I can see both trips bearing fruit in all four areas–in addition to the ministry on the ground.