Thursday, August 06, 2015

6 Ways to Make Sure Your Mission Trip Has Long-Term Impact

If you served on a mission trip with CSM this summer - thank you! You not only were Jesus' hands and feet in the city, but you've also taken the first big step towards expanding your worldview of who God is and how He's moving. But, keep in mind that we weren't made to live on the mountaintop - it's when we return home to the valley that we can continue to grow. 

Here are a few tips to help you make sure that short-term trip has true long-term impact...

1. Serve!
Did serving on your mission trip stir something within you? Like a part of you is meant to keep doing this? Whether it's reaching out to your homeless neighbors back in your own community or writing a prayer tour of your own city - do something (consistently) to serve your neighbors!

2. Give!
It's as simple as "putting your money where your mouth is". If you were impacted by a ministry during your time serving, commit to giving back financially. Doesn't matter if it's $10/month or $1,000 one time - every bit counts.

Please do keep in mind that though every cent given makes an impact, it cannot replace relationships. The giving of treasures needs to be in both forms of money and time.

3. Learn!
Did you learn a fact during the prayer tour or at your ministry site that's stuck with you? Dig deeper! Sign up for that Public Policy class, seek out a mentor that has the same passion to fight human trafficking, or register for the College-Aged Urban Intensive (one week of digging into specific social justice issues). Whatever it is, don't let that emotion you felt about an injustice turn into apathy. Learn more, then do something.

4. Connect!
Reach out to like-minded people! Returning from such an intense experience can be really hard. Reach out to your group leader, fellow trip participants or other folks in your community that have a servant's heart. We love the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) and all that they do to connect folks with the similar passion to see Jesus lifted up in communities across the globe. Attend their national conference or reach out to one of their member organizations!

5. Read!
There are tons of great reads out there to help you navigate your calling in God's Kingdom. We have a pretty decent list on our website of books (and more resources!). Ask your like-minded friends or mentor/group leader for some recommendations, too. Also, start following blogs of people who have voices that encourage you in this journey.

6. Pray!
Most important! Be in communion with the Lord about where He desires you to serve and how you can best be using your gifts that He's given you. Pray for those that touched your life and grew your faith. Seek direction in where you're headed vocationally. Ask for wisdom in stewarding the resources you've been given. You may not even be able to imagine where He'll lead you - but you'll never regret it.

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