Children to the Mission Field?
By Pastor Ryan Bash, Team Participant
Someone asked me a great question regarding the purpose of churches sending a team to the mission field. He inquired about the benefit to the missionaries and the benefit to the team itself. Given that our church was sending 15 workers (including six children!) to McAllen, Texas, to help with the ministries of Taylor Christian School, I counted it a wonderful opportunity to share my heart for missions. He, in turn, encouraged me to share this answer with others. So why do we go? And in particular, what is the value in sending children?
For the Missionaries…
Most career missionaries have made tremendous sacrifices to serve where God has called them. One of the greatest gifts short-term teams can offer these missionaries is the reminder that they are not alone. When we come and serve alongside them, we communicate that they are not forgotten, that their ministry matters, and that the church back home is ready to do whatever it takes to help them succeed in spreading the gospel. In short, our mindset must not be one of a gracious benefactor, but that of a humble learner. We need to be people who want to help in any way we can—both while onsite and once we get home.
For the Team…
The team gets to enjoy a week immersed in a different culture. The greatest benefit to the members of a short-term team is that they return as missions-minded people. Our Lord has called His followers to go into all parts of the world to make disciples and to be His witnesses. Going to the mission field, as opposed to simply sending money, serves to instill in us a passion for God’s children all over the world. Ideally, such an experience will lead us to give even more, be emboldened to share our faith at home, and grow more sensitive to God’s specific invitations to Christian service in our own lives.
For the Children…
When they are at a young and impressionable age, we are teaching them the value of Christian service. We are teaching them how to work and serve in difficult conditions. We are introducing them to the varied faces of world Christianity. We are inspiring a whole new generation to care about what God is doing in neighborhoods all over the world. Thus, when they are grown and making decisions about their own time and resources, we will have established a foundation for selflessness and missions-mindedness. We are benefiting not only them, but also the church.
ACT: Want to help your church become more missions-minded? Take charge and invite others to take a short-term trip in the coming year. Explore the places you can go atwww.wgm.org/teams.