Tomorrow, eleven American students will arrive in Joburg for a Campus Crusade Summer Project. We’ll be on the campus and in the community sharing and showing the gospel to the lost over the next month.
Whenever I think about a “short-term” missions trip, I almost always think “event.” Christianity is not an event. Evangelism, discipleship, and worship are not main attractions that we get excited for on a certain date and at a particular hour. Rather, these are disciplines that should be interwoven into the fabric of our lives so that all of our life is worship, all of our interaction with believers is discipleship, and all interaction with non-believers is evangelism.
This will not always look like what your para-church ministry or your fundamental Baptist church says it should look like. It should be what comes of the new life a Christian has been given by God. It should look like Jesus and the Apostles in Scripture. It should be dynamic and exciting and organic and, yes, even hard, but always fulfilling and joyful.
I love short-term mission projects. I think they can be good. On the other hand, they can be detrimental to a how a young person views the Christian life. If the summer mission trip is the only place for evangelism and discipleship, there is something terribly wrong. If the only way — dare I say, the primary way — a person understands missional mindset, outreach, and discipleship is through a tract, a schedule, appointments, or anything of the sort, I would be willing to bet that they have a warped view of what Christianity is all about.
My prayer for these eleven students is not for this project to be a great Christian event. My prayer is for this next month to be a challenging time of asking themselves, “Is Jesus Christ really the supreme treasure of my life?” The answer to that question will answer the next biggest critical question we must ask ourselves: “Am I an ‘event’ Christian who only gets excited about Jesus at concerts, services, mission trips, or conferences? Or is my faith the fabric of my life so that it is lived out in the normal, the mundane, the regular, the common, and the everyday?”