Sunday, July 22, 2012

Best Short-Term Mission Trip EVER: Stay Home and Do Mission Locally

I've gone on more than a dozen short-term mission trips and supported dozens of others. Thanks to Corbett and Fikkerts book and seminar, When Helping Hurts, now I'm not as naive about the benefits of short-term trips unless one takes into consideration the spiritual, relational AND economic impact of such trips.

So what to do? As a church planting pastor who wants to train up the church to make disciples who make disciples, we NEED to equip our people for the work of ministry! (Ephesians 4: 11-12) 

Do a local, stay-at-home mission trip with the help of an agency like Celebrate Jesus Inc. (Yes I know most of their participants are UMC, but this group is Kingdom-minded! They provided easy to follow instructions for key leaders, asked for very low consulting fees, sent six experienced local church missionaries and cheered us on.)

Here's the short report to Crosspoint Encuenro one week after mission:

Our church mobilized to prayer walk past 4000 homes in March-June then did a local mission trip where we went back, knocked on those doors, invited them to a block party and asked if there was anything we can pray for. Check out the pictures on our Facebook page.
  • We went out 10 times last week Sunday-Friday in groups of 25-55
  • The total number of hours prayed for our city is hard to calculate. But it’s a lot!
      • Intercessors – 3-4 people x 2 hours x 9 missions = 60-70 hours
      • Before/After door knocking – 25-55 people x 1 hour x 10 missions = 300-400 hours
      • Estimated total hours prayer during Mission – 360-470 hours
  • We hand-delivered information about Crosspoint Encuentro to over 4000 homes.
  • Almost 1000 people opened their doors - I was shocked. Maybe a result of intercession? Duh, yep.
  • Over 450 gave us prayer requests
  • We prayed right there at the door with the ones who let us, prayed back at the church for all of them again, then intercessors prayed again. (Notice a pattern?)
  • Postcards written and sent to 450+ telling them we'd keep on praying.
  • One young single mother prayed to receive Christ at her door!
  • Wednesday we started sending teams back to do follow up as the Spirit led us.
  • 75-100 came to the party (a rainy night) but it was amazingly fun connecting.
  • 7 new people came to worship on Sunday
After the Mission Week is Over
  • Several of us are continuing following up with practical help, building relationships, hospital visits, meals, phone calls, etc.
  • A group of 35 of us meet on Wednesdays to pray over the requests and go out for follow-up visits. First week - encouraging results!
  • Praying during worship service for these prayer requests.

Results so far…
Surprisingly, we have heard of sudden healings, restored relationships, interest in Christ from many Hispanics and some Muslims. 

And remember how some of us were afraid to even go on their first prayer walk in March?
Remember how most of us were afraid to knock on a door?

·     Now more are leading the way, doing follow up, supporting CEC's mission, discovering they have the gift of intercession, mercy, hospitality. More of us view our city the way the Lord sees the people in these households! Our youth and children are soaking it up! They are learning that this is the normal stuff you do when you are a Christian. Whole families are ministering together at the same time.

AND, this was better than any short-term trip I have ever done.

Higher percentage of our folks participated. Cost less TOTAL than flying 2-3 people overseas for a week for a short-tern trip. We can cultivate relationships, CARE TOGETHER, love each other as Christ loves us, plant seeds of the gospel and reap the harvest of God’s work!

Be Sober and Aware of the enemy’s schemes
The enemy is kicking and fighting back! But many more of us are learning to fight back against his schemes. So, be encouraged. You are making an eternal difference in your church, in your family, in this city and ultimately this region!

Pray for Celebrate Jesus Mission as they kick-off another week of mission with churches on the Space Coast of Florida.

To God be the GLORY – He’s AWESOME!

P.S. I am absolutely positive the LORD arranged the timing of this partnership with Celebrate Jesus and this Mission to Smyrna. Can't wait to see what He has planned for us next!

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