Treating the Great Commission Like a Short-term Mission Trip

blog, great commission

Let me begin by saying, I am very proud of people who take short-term mission trips. In no way am I trying to discourage you from going on a short-term mission trip. However, this article is designed to talk about what it really looks like to fulfill the Great Commission.   

I will reference this phrase throughout the rest of this article. The Great Commission is found in Matthew 28:18-20.   In order to keep this article short, I want you to understand that the Great Commission asks you to make disciples with the rest of your life. 

Sometimes, Christians can become confused about what the Great Commission is asking of us.   I believe this confusion has led to some people thinking that by spending two weeks overseas on assignment, they are fulfilling Jesus’ last words to his church.

A short-term mission trip can be a very important aspect of fulfilling the Great Commission. It can be a big step in your Christian faith. However, the Great Commission requires much more than just two weeks overseas once a year. 

Here are a couple of brief ideas about what it takes to fulfill the Great Commission:

It’s a mission, not a task

The Great Commission is a mission to live for… not a task to check off on your to-do list. Treating the Great Commission like a short-term mission trip cheapens the holy responsibility that Jesus gave to his church.  The Great Commission is an endeavor worthy of devoting your entire life. When Christians talk about a short-term mission trip like it is the fulfillment of the Great Commission, it cheapens this holy responsibility. 

I applaud people that are willing to take time off of work, raise their own support, travel long distances, and engage people from other cultures with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

However, it distorts our God-given purpose for living if you pack up at the end of the trip and go back to your home without continuing the work of the Great Commission.  

It takes radical commitment 

If Jesus was really serious in the Great Commission about reaching all nations, then God’s people are going to have to make a radical commitment to this mission. This is a mission that is worth following for the rest of your life.  This mission will give your life purpose and meaning. Let’s face it- nothing can stop a man on a mission.

There were a handful of families that were willing to make this kind of radical commitment in Nehemiah 11:1. These brothers were so committed to the mission of God and the future of their country that they were willing to leave their family’s farmlands and move into Jerusalem.  

Don’t miss the significance of this verse.  They didn’t treat this as a task on their to-do list or a short-term mission trip.  They were ready to pledge the rest of their lives to return Jerusalem to her former glory.  These faithful men and their families volunteered for this radical assignment.  They demonstrated that God was ultimately in charge of their daily lives by moving into the city and spending the rest of their lives following the mission of God.  

Would you make that kind of commitment?  Are you willing to sacrifice that much to see the Great Commission fulfilled in your lifetime?

It requires the rest of your life

Here’s the real crux of the problem.  Treating the Great Commission like a short-term mission trip points to a much bigger and much deeper issue than your crazy schedule. It points directly to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over your life.  

God is not your co-pilot, and you don’t get to call the shots in your life after becoming a Christian.  King Jesus expects total surrender from his subjects.  It is only through total surrender that a man or women can be delivered from the idolatry of self.  When Jesus becomes Lord of your life, He becomes Lord of ALL of your life- or He’s not Lord at all.

If you want to know more about what surrender really means, read my article Would You Agree to “Unconditional Surrender”?

Let’s face it; surrender is hard.  Maybe the high costs of surrender is what keeps people from finding new life in Jesus. Maybe a desire to hold on to some control over our lives and our futures is what prevents Christians from “dying daily” to self.   Giving Jesus only 2 weeks a year in a short- term mission trip while holding onto the other 50 weeks is an indication that Jesus isn’t in total control over you time, energy, or focus. 

If this article has helped you realize that you are holding on to control over your life and struggling to surrender daily to Jesus, I want to pray for you.  

 Father, help us to resist the urge to control our life and our circumstances tomorrow.  We believe that you can do much better controlling our energy, schedule and focus than we can.  God, will you help us to experience the life of freedom knowing that we are following your will completely?  Would you give us the joy of knowing that our life is making an eternal impact?  Helps us to lie down to sleep every night with the thoughts of how we lived out your Great Commission fresh in our heads.  Amen.  

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