I went on a mission trip because…
- It’s my chance to love others.
- This is my opportunity to make a difference.
- I want to get my serve on!
- This is what Christians are supposed to do.
If you’re like most people, at least one of these answers rings true.
But the problem with these answers is that each one points toward the idea that God’s plan for you can be encapsulated in a seven-day experience. It gives the idea that service is something we wait to do until the mission trip… then we check it off a list.
But service is meant to be a lifestyle, and God’s mission for you is so much more than a trip!
So what is God’s mission? That’s a big question! And a really good question.
Of course, each person is unique and the way we live out God’s mission for us is as different as we are from the next person. But here are three big things God asks each of us to do—and not just for a week each summer, but every day when we go to school or work or (gasp!) the breakfast table with our family. As meaningful as it can be to go to another city, state or country on a mission trip, imagine what it might be like if you saw every day as your opportunity to live out these pieces of God’s mission for your life:
3 Ways to Live Out God’s Mission Every Day
1. Love God. Love Others. Read Matthew 22:34–40.
In a way, it’s simple. Whatever you do, show love to the people around you and love God too. Of course, that can be really hard, which is why Jesus says it will take your heart, soul and mind to do! It will take all of you. Jesus also says that “all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matt. 22:40). That means that all the direction God gave his people in the Old Testament can be obeyed if we just love each other and love God. That means you don’t need to be a Bible scholar to know what to do.
What does loving God and loving others look like for you? It might include…
- Volunteering at church or a local organization that does good.
- Watching out for people at school or work that are being left out.
- Doing little things for others around your home, like cleaning or leaving gifts.
2. Share Truth. Read Matthew 28:18–20.
God invites each of us to share the good news of Jesus with the people around us. That means our words and actions should be synced, preaching the same message of God’s love and redemption. And it means we shouldn’t keep the reality of God’s love to ourselves but should find ways to speak truth with grace and love.
What does sharing God’s truth look like for you? It might include…
- Telling stories about what God is doing in your life.
- Being bold about sharing what you believe with friends when the opportunity arises.
- Using your skills in writing, drawing or singing to creatively tell the story of Jesus.
3. Be Different. Read 2 Peter 2:9–17.
Way back near the beginning of the Bible, when God chose a people to follow him, he gave them laws to set them apart in good ways from the nations around them. It’s because God wanted the very best for them. And God wants the very best for us today, so we are invited to do things that aren’t that normal—like loving our enemies or deciding not to just do what’s popular. This being different is what is sometimes called holiness. It means being set apart for God’s purposes.
How might God be inviting you to be different? It might include…
- Saying no to something that you don’t feel honors God, even when it would so easy to say yes.
- Spending a summer serving others at camp instead of choosing other options.
- Deciding that looking or acting a certain way to be more popular isn’t as important as loving God and others.
A short trip can’t encompass God’s mission for you… but perhaps it can be a place to begin loving God more deeply, loving others more fully, knowing God’s truth more personally and being different in really good ways. What will you discover, what will you learn and how will you grow on your next service experience when you see God’s mission as bigger than a trip?
Sam Townsend has helped write summer theme content and other material for YouthWorks since 2007. He considers his years on staff with YouthWorks to be some of the most formational times of his life. Sam loves good people with new ideas, full conversations over half-price apps, and puns bad enough to make a grown man groan. He is the Pastor of Senior High Ministry at Calvary Church in Roseville, Minnesota and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org