Unlike Any Other

one sacredThere are many convictions that make me a Southern Baptist by choice, not by tradition.  I firmly believe in believer’s baptism by immersion as practiced by Jesus himself.  I firmly believe in the full inspiration of the Bible as God’s authoritative, inerrant Word.  I firmly believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation.  For there is no other name under heaven by which men are saved (Acts 4:12).  These convictions, among others, align me perfectly with my fellow Southern Baptist tribe.

Another HUGE conviction I have is that the Gospel of Jesus must go to all nations, to every people group, tribe and tongue.  That we must pray for, support, and go as missionaries, spreading  the Gospel in our Jerusalem, our Judea, our Samaria and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).  The missionary calling is for every believer.  No one is exempt.

For those who have received the missionary call and are burdened by God to live and serve among another people group, they have my greatest respect.  They are my heroes.

They are one of the main reasons I give my tithes and offerings to a Southern Baptist church which supports ministry in my city and state, and most importantly around the world through the Cooperative Program.

There is no other missionary sending agency on the planet that does domestic and international missions like Southern Baptists.  We not only affirm and appoint over 10,000 missionaries, but we send them out with a full salary and ministry funds to do the work.

Every other missionary sending agency requires their missionaries to raise their own support and constantly make requests of their supporters back home.  While I believe God has used this method greatly, I personally feel my tribe’s strategy is more focused and purposeful.  It lets the missionary be a missionary and not focus so much on being a fundraiser.

We complete this strategy through giving to the Cooperative Program and through special missions offerings, namely the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. For these offerings, every single penny goes straight to the mission field.  Nothing is held back for administrative costs.

This is an investment that has an eternal impact seeing men and women, boys and girls from all corners of the world coming to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.   That is an investment unlike any other.

Kids on Mission Trips

Should children (gradeschool and below) be taken on serious, even dangerous, mission trips?  Are children capable of sustained ministry over a period of 7 to 10 days?  Do they help the overall ministry efforts or impeded them?  Are parents distracted in ministry if they need to care for their children as well?

More and more churches are allowing, better yet sending, children out on mission trips.  30 years ago, the youth group mission trip became a mainstay in youth ministry competing for summer dates right along with youth camp.  Will kids on mission find its way to the ranks of VBS?

There are several issues here to consider such as the general safety and stamina of children on mission.  The Christian maturity level of gradeschool age children is another hot topic.  Team leaders must evaluate what the ministry objective is (i.e., what are you going to do) and determine if children could be helpful to that overall mission.  Leaders will additionally have to deal with homesickness and parental oversight. (Interestingly enough, I have heard these exact same issues applied to middle and high school students on mission trips.)

Each of these issues must be considered before taking children on mission.  But I think you must go back to the story of the boy with the loaves and fish (John 6).  He offered what he had and Jesus multiplied it to feed thousands.  A child’s heart is so very tender.  If they seek to serve God kingdom at a young age, how can we restrain that desire.  Admittedly different accommodation will have to be made to bring young ones on the trip, but is the blessing not so much more.

How amazed and energized would your mission team be if an 8 year old led someone to Christ?  What if a 6 year old worked alongside her father for a week building a house for the poor, would that not form a memorable bond?  Children give freely of what they have and I know Jesus multiplies their gift every time.

My boys are still preschool age, but as they get older we will look for more and more opportunities to TEACH them about missions and TAKE them on missions.