Last week I wrote about modern mission trips and I really didn’t have the space to cover all that I felt needed to be said on this topic. So want to touch on a few of the other issues with this relatively modern idea of missions.
First off let us think of who’s going on these trips. Most churches plan mission trips for the youth group. We get flyers in the mail all the time advertising preplanned mission trips for our church’s youth group. This may shock you but I am not a fan of sending teenagers to do mission work. I know a thing or two about youth group mission trips because I took a couple trips to Mexico in my youth. I regularly see youth during the summer eating at McDonald’s or Wendy’s on their way to a “mission field.” They are raucous, loud and very inconsiderate of everyone in the restaurant. Boyfriend and girlfriend are all snuggled up together eating as the youth leader’s little boy is throwing a temper tantrum wanting the prize from his happy meal while all the rest run wild. Does this look like the face of Christianity? Should churches sacrificially give to send these kids out with our message? Are teenagers the best heralds of the gospel? Maybe I’m too judgmental?
In Act 15:36-41 Paul and Barnabas split up over taking John Mark on a second mission trip because he went home early on the last trip. This should give us some idea of the seriousness of who goes on a mission trip. Couple this with the length of the modern mission trip only being 5-9 days. How much impact can one truly have in a week? Oh and I forgot to mention part of that “week of missions” will be spent sight seeing with a full day at Six Flags. Can you imagine any missionary from past generations wanting this kind of help? What church of yesteryear would send people on a vacation/mission trip? None of them would. But this is the standard operating procedure of churches in our day.
Now the argument against my position is that these trips are good for the kids and they really grow while away from the church and home. You know? Being away from home with other kids makes them more mature when they come back. Bologna! The Bible tells us the youth are to grow and learn by being in the home and church. How can taking them away from those God given institutions be to their benefit? To be honest, it only makes a boring church more fun to go on trips with your friends once or twice a year. I never cared for Scouts but I loved going to Camp Orr every year so I stayed in just for that. Many young people are only interested in church for the fun activities. When they out grow the fun, they out grow the church. Missions are not intended to be fun for kids, they are for the spreading of the gospel! Pray that churches would take missions seriously. ~HWS