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How to Know If a Mission Trip is Right for You

MAY 2021

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by D.J. Morgan D.J. currently serves as EM's Creative & Marketing Director, helping connect volunteers to life-changing opportunities to serve and grow together on mission trips.

What makes you qualified to serve on a mission trip? Personal credentials? Experience? A specific level of spiritual maturity?

It's easy to fall into the trap of believing a mission trip is not for you—or that you're not right for a mission trip. But the truth is there are very few requirements to serve on a mission trip. And none of them have anything to do with your skills, experience, or the number of Bible verses you've memorized.

At its most basic level, there are only 3 things you need in order to serve on a mission trip, and they are things anyone and everyone can access. Take a look and see if you're ready to embark on a cross-cultural learning and service experience in the near future.

Is a mission trip right for you

1. A desire to serve others.

At EM, we feel called as followers of Jesus to continually seek out ways to serve others—showing compassion and mercy to people in difficult circumstances and seeking justice for those who are oppressed by systems and inequalities present in their life and community. This posture toward the vulnerable and marginalized is derived directly from the life and teachings of Jesus, like when he exhorted his disciples, saying, "Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35) In another parable, he makes plain God's connection to the poor and downtrodden, saying, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:30)

Without a desire to serve—to put the well-being of others ahead of our own—we will not be effective on a mission trip.

It is simply not a "mission trip" if those who go lack a desire to show mercy and compassion and fight injustice on behalf of those in need. What is our mission if not to embody the love and grace of God for all people with our actions?

Is a mission trip right for you

2. A desire to grow in your faith.

In our years of experience on the mission field, we've come to see that following Jesus is a "learn by doing" exercise. We will not grow deeper in our understanding of who God is and who He created us to be without getting in the trenches and living life His way to the best of our ability.

That's why it's important we see our service on mission trips as an opportunity to grow in our faith. In this life, we will never reach perfection, becoming entirely "Christ-like" in everything we do, which means there is always room to expand our capacity to trust God, love His world, and put out hope in HIm. A desire to push into these areas of growth brings out the best in us as people, and it puts us on an equal footing with those we come to serve. This leads to the final thing we need...

Is a mission trip right for you

3. A willingness to learn from others and expand our understanding of the world.

If you believe you have nothing to learn, then you will always see yourself as the teacher—the one with all the answers. This almost never goes well. Instead, it feeds into the lie that those of us with the privilege and means to travel are somehow more capable, knowledgable, or worthy of respect and praise.

The truth is we are all broken people living in a broken world.

Further, when we travel to a different place and culture, we are intentionally putting ourselves in a low position—one of knowing and understanding the least about the situations we will encounter. Mission trips are made infinitely better when we show up with open hands (humbly giving what we're able) and open hearts (taking in whatever God might want to teach us through the people we meet). As we continue to foster learning and service experiences like mission trips in the midst of this broken world, it is our solemn hope that this mentality and approach becomes one of the defining features of volunteers who seek them out.

So, is a mission trip right for you? We hope so! Check out all of our upcoming mission trip opportunities for groups and individuals, and fill out an interest form to get started.

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