Gardening is messy. I’m someone who wishes she had a green thumb but struggles to keep succulents and cacti alive. (Anyone with me?) I love the idea of flowers and fresh veggies, but I don’t always want to put in the work to get there. Sometimes growing in my relationship with God can feel the same way. It feels like hard work and it seems like those fresh flowers are a long way off. One way that I (and many, many others here at Bay Area) have grown is through serving on short term missions teams. Here are five quick reasons you should consider growing with us this year through short term missions:
1. You grow in your walk with Jesus.
Here at Bay Area we call short term missions the fast track to discipleship because so often it serves as a catalyst to our own spiritual growth. When you join a short-term missions team and partner with God and others to share the love of Jesus with people who don’t know Him yet, you step outside of your comfort zone and grow in dependence on and obedience to Jesus.
2. You grow your family at Bay Area.
Learning together, eating together, serving together, praying together, struggling together and rejoicing together – there’s something special about traveling away from your home to accomplish a mission with other like-minded people. Your team will return to Annapolis or Easton with a shared experience that creates lasting, authentic friendships and makes this big church seem a little bit smaller.
3. You grow your spiritual gifts.
Do you know how God has supernaturally gifted you to serve and build up the church? Following the footsteps of Jesus and taking our lead from 2 Timothy 1:6, short term missions help us “fan into flame” the gifts God has given us. As you see the way that God has purposefully created you and your team, you can step more intentionally into your gifts and calling to serve both on the missions field and right here in Maryland.
4. You grow the family of God.
While on the missions field you will have the opportunity to interact with people who don’t know Jesus yet or Jesus-followers who are in need of encouragement and equipping. As you serve outside your comfort zone to bring the gospel to bear in their lives, you play an important role in others responding to Jesus’ invitation to follow Him and experience His abundant life.
5. You grow your view of God.
God is big, vast and unsearchable. He created cultures and He has promised that one day “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language” will stand before His throne to worship Him (Revelation 7:9). As you see God at work in another culture, as you experience worship in another language or style, as you connect to people and see the imago Dei, the grandeur of God is unveiled just a little bit more. As your view of God expands, your worship of God deepens and your life is transformed.
We go to grow: by connecting in community, serving like Jesus, sharing the Gospel and worshiping together. You might recognize those phrases – they’re the focus of our vision statement, Every One A Missionary. Short term missions give us the opportunity to grow as we dive into these values, as we nourish the seeds that have been planted in our lives and plant seeds in the lives of others. Will you grow with us this year?