Christian missionaries have been part of the evangelical movement throughout the world for thousands of years as Christ followers heed the command of Jesus to go forth into the nations and share the good news of salvation. Christ himself traveled from city to city and village to village giving people of all socio-economic groups the opportunity to hear the message that God was sending through him - to repent and accept the free gift of salvation. And, in the way of Christ, believers have continued to reach out to countries who have not yet heard the message of Christ and to help establish Christian leadership and churches. Today, as many countries have received the gospel message, there is still a need to continue in the tradition of sharing not only spiritual wisdom, but also material resources, as well. The Bible is clear that Christianity crosses cultural boundaries and that brothers and sisters in Christ are called to support one another in every blessing. As the world becomes more and more accessible with the Internet and with international travel, missions has grown to phenomenal proportions. Most anyone can find an opportunity to take a missionary journey with a myriad of short-term options available.
A missions trip can have many different objectives and can be approached in many different ways. We see a broad range of examples from the Bible. In the Old Testament, many consider that Abraham took a missionary journey by setting out to an unknown country following God's directive. God also sent prophets and priests to cities and people groups to teach others about Him and His ways. From the beginning, the Lord has been concerned for all people and He has chosen to use people to share this concern. When the Messiah arrives in the New Testament, Christian missionaries are conceptualized. Jesus sent His disciples out in groups to take the specific message of the gospel forward. As when a drop upon the waters sends out rippled waves, so the gospel message was to spread out in all directions, changing individual lives and impacting the world. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the disciples had an even greater hope to share with the world: the hope of resurrection for all who would believe. In the letters of the Apostle Paul, we see that men and women were sent forward not only with this message but for additional reasons, as well. Cross cultural financial sharing, encouragement, and church planting were all objectives of the new Christian faith. To discover more about what the Bible has to say about missions, be sure and check out these Bible resources.
The objectives of missions have not changed, although the methods have seen many variations over the years. With travel expediency and technology, Christian missionaries reaching out to churches and those in need has opened an entire new way of interacting. And, missions has become a ministry that most anyone at any age can take part in. The opportunities to meet and support Christian people groups in other countries are endless. And, there are still people groups that need to hear the salvation message of Jesus Christ. There are languages that have not yet been written, meaning that there are still cultures that do not have the Word of God available in their native tongues. There are established churches that need additional resources for training up disciples, and there is wide spread persecution of Christianity. Those who suffer daily persecution are always in need of encouragement from their brothers and sisters from around the world. The need is great, and God has opened the doors of blessings, meeting needs at a greater rate than ever before. "Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation. Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations" (1 Chronicles 16:23-24). These are truly amazing times in which to live and to take part in a missionary journey.
As servants of Christ seek to serve Him and love all of His children through mission trips, there has truly been a global impact for Christ. Churches have been built, children have been fed, homes have been repaired, and lives have been changed for the better. Christian missionaries may go into an under-developed country and live among the people, dedicating their lives to building a foundation of the Faith. Short-term trips are often directed at providing aid or taking a gift, giving both the givers and the receivers the opportunity to learn more about each other and experience the Spirit of God in new and exciting ways. Not only are there physical results, but there are spiritual and emotional outcomes, as well. When we are challenged to love and share with people who are from completely different cultures, we have our eyes opened to what God is doing in and through people who are different from us. Minds will be opened to see that God and his infinite ways are more vast, yet more understandable, evoking an incredible spiritual enlightenment. All of this can be accomplished in a simple missionary journey, by taking a step out of comfort and into the exciting adventures of God. Take the quiz above and find out more about what the Bible has to say about missions.