So you want to go on a mission trip, eh? (OK, my ten years of living near the Canadian border is coming through. Lots of “eh’s” up there. Eh?) To go on your mission trip, how about get some instructions from Jesus, the master of equipping mission teams?!
He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the road except a walking stick: no bread, no traveling bag, no money in their belts. They were to wear sandals, but not put on an extra shirt. Then He said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that place. If any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, when you leave there, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they were driving out many demons, anointing many sick people with olive oil, and healing them. (Mark 6:8-13)
Let me summarize Jesus’ instructions with a checklist for us today. Perhaps this will help you as you prepare for your next mission encounter – whether that encounter is around the world or across the street.
1. You go with authority: Jesus is sending you. Notice that Jesus gave His first disciples authority when He sent them out. He repeated that when He gave us instructions to make disciples in Matthew 28:18-20. Jesus still has authority over Satan and demonic spirits today, just like He did in the first century. When a person is saved by Jesus, Satan and demonic spirits no longer have rule over that person’s life. So you go with the authority of Jesus, on mission with Him. That’s a big deal.
2. You go with a message: tell people of their need to repent and trust in Jesus as Lord & Savior. In Mark 6, the Bible says that everywhere they went they proclaimed that people should repent of their sin and turn to Christ. We carry that same message today. How you say it and where you say it and to whom you say it will vary from day to day, but be consistent in telling people the good news that Jesus died and rose again to save them from their sins.
3. Travel light. Notice that “He instructed them to take nothing for the road except a walking stick: no bread, no traveling bag, no money in their belts. They were to wear sandals, but not put on an extra shirt.” The idea is that you are not going on vacation, you are going on mission. When you travel light, you are making yourself vulnerable and dependent on the Lord. If you are going out of town on a mission trip, let the pastor or missionary you are working with advise you on how to pack. Trust their wisdom, and remain dependent on the Lord.
4. Be grateful for the Lord’s provision and for the person of peace. It’s amazing how the Lord provides a person to be your host, to feed you and give you a place to stay. If the accommodations are not what you are accustomed to, don’t be looking to move to a 5-star hotel. As Jesus says, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that place.” Be grateful. As we said before, remain dependent on the Lord. Be grateful and gracious. The person that is your host is the person who will be the gateway to the people you will be serving and sharing the message of Christ with.
5. When some people reject the message of Christ, handle it appropriately. Don’t be surprised if some people reject your message. Not everyone is going to be excited to hear the good news of Jesus. Rather than being discouraged or angry when that happens, simply dust off your feet and move on. Leave a good impression so that those who come behind you can be a witness for Christ when they encounter this person.
6. Minister to people. In Mark 6, we see Jesus’ disciples praying with people, healing them, and casting out demons. Perhaps the Lord will work through you in supernatural ways too, but don’t seek signs and wonders. Rather, seek to be faithful to do the work that the Lord has called you to do on your specific trip, always sharing the good news of Jesus’ love and salvation that is available to all who will believe. And pray with people, even anointing them with olive oil (a symbol of God’s Holy Spirit) if they request it. Note: the olive oil has no medicinal or magical powers; it is simply a reminder that the Lord is our Healer.
“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)
Those instructions should get you started. Jesus is pretty smart, eh? Let’s live our lives on mission with Him: with His authority, sharing His message, dependent on Him, watching for persons of peace, grateful and gracious, not being discouraged by opposition, ministering to people in Jesus’ name.
Live your life on mission with God.