Why should I spend $1,800 on a mission trip rather than just giving it to a ministry partner?
Imagine you look at your bank account at the end of the month and, to your surprise, there is an extra $1,800 sitting there. It sure would be fun to think about all of the ways you could spend that extra money. The money could go toward a new television or toward that bathroom you need to remodel. It seems there is always something you can spend your money on. It certainly doesn’t take much thought to find the perfect use for any surplus.
If you spend any amount of time looking at the world, you'll see the need for money to be given to many worthy global ministry partners. These are organizations that serve the poor, the oppressed, the displaced, and those who have fallen in the margins. Perhaps you've been compelled to give to organizations like these and, through your generosity, are part of the great work they do. Sending them the extra $1,800 would certainly benefit their work.
To be sure, $1,800 can do a lot, whether for your own personal use or for the advancement of a global ministry partner. And the work required to earn $1,800 is also significant. It takes a lot of time sacrificed and work invested to see that amount in your bank account. But what if you looked at $1,800 to serve a different purpose? What if you looked at it as the cost of an experience that could grow your faith and allow you to have a real and personal impact on the world in Christ’s name? Spending $1,800 to go on a mission trip might not seem like the best use of money, but when you begin to see it as part of the work God is doing in your life it might just be the best investment you will ever make.
When you begin the life-changing journey that is following Christ, a heart transformation occurs. Your heart is moved from a place of separation from God to a place of communion with Him, increasing your desire to be on mission for Him. Over time you'll begin to yearn for what God has called his people to be and realize your actions can either hinder that process or encourage you toward that calling.
As your relationship with God continues to grow, and as you learn even more about God through scripture and community with other believers, you may be challenged in even greater ways. You'll begin looking at your finances differently and set money aside to be used by your local church. This offering is a step of obedience, and is our way of saying all you have is a blessing from God and ultimately intended to be used by Him. And what great blessings have poured out of the local church when the hearts of its people have been moved toward generous giving.
Your life can be transformed in so many ways when you start following Christ. The desires of your heart change, the view of your money changes, the way you view the world and your role in it changes. These changes and this growth never stop, allowing you to draw nearer and nearer to God’s own heart. They are part of a process called sanctification. Speaker Priscilla Shirer defines sanctification as “the process by which you are molded by the Holy Spirit into the image of Christ Jesus.” God wants all of your heart and he wants a fully committed follower who is always seeking more of Him and seeking ways to be on mission for Him. God does not want anything in your life to be competing with him. And as you give more and more to Him he will ask more and more of you.
Perhaps you are still wondering why you would spend money on a mission trip instead of giving the money to a ministry partner. It sometimes seems as if the money may be more impactful if it goes directly to the source of need. But perhaps the better question to ask yourself is how does God wish to sanctify me and use me in His mission in the world? By being present where His work is taking place you get to experience first-hand what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus. You get to touch the suffering, pray with the afflicted, laugh with the orphans, worship with brothers and sisters. You get to help change others’ lives with your presence and in the process you are also changed. When you go on a mission trip you get to experience the Church in a profoundly larger context than you ever could by only giving financially.
Is God asking you to step out in faith so that you can become even more like Him as you serve a broken world? Perhaps He's asking you to leave the comfortable Christianity you currently enjoy and step out in obedience to that place where discomfort meets incredible blessing and transformation.
Putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
James 1:21-22 NASB