Good and Bad Ways to Come Home from a Mission Trip

People often come home from a mission trip with a rare, intense (and potentially irritating) excitement. I think you should do something with that excitement. A mission trip has the potential to do great good. It helps to think of the trip as having 3 categories of fruit and ways of giving glory to God:
1.benefit for the people who live in the place where you traveled (including long-term workers).
2. benefit for the travelers (you).
3. benefit for the home communities of the travelers (your home communities).

Some good ways to come home:

  • Talk about the trip. Think of a couple three-minute stories that best illustrate the successes of your trip.
  • Don’t be the hero of your own story. God should be at the center of the success.
  • Don’t let your only story be about how “we take so much for granted”. God’s plan for the nations is bigger than that.
  • Avoid the ugly temptation to hate your own home culture. Your home culture is different, not better or worse.
  • Be changed – even if short-term trips are “old hat” for you.
  • Do something with that energy before the routine of “regular life” sucks you back into complacency.
    • Some wise ways to do something good with that new energy
      • Be strategic. Connect with and support a mission agency with long-term work, goals and commitment to the place you visited
      • Learn. Attend a cross-cultural mission training program (this is a shameless plug for our training program).
      • Live with purpose. Make a five-year plan for your life – let the plan be influenced by the new knowledge and perspective you’ve gained on your trip.
      • Be a good steward. Find ways that you can decrease your monthly expenses in order to support mission work in the country where you’ve traveled.
      • Be a disciple. Let the truth of Christ truly transform the shape of your life. Even when the emotions diminish, exercise the disciplines of faith, joy and purpose.

Some bad ways to come home:

  • Subject everyone who asks “How was your trip?” to the 30-minute story of your plane ride.
  • Make your stories all about how you survived great adversity and single-handedly saved the country you visited.
  • Make everyone feel guilty for having hot water at home.
  • Say “America sucks. We’re so selfish.” to everyone who will listen to you.
  • Be unfazed. Say “It was no big deal” when people ask “How was your trip?”.
  • Do nothing with the compassion and energy you’ve gained on your trip. It will go away eventually. Let the excitement subside and go on being ordinary.

I’d love to hear your mission trip story. Share it with me here?