By Matt Greco (from 2012)
2 Corinthians 5: 20 – “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
There are many excellent reasons why everyone from the USA who is a born again believer should go on at least one short–term mission trip. Here are three that come to mind. You can probably think of several others.
- A short–term trip can open a person’s eyes to Christianity and the opposition to Christianity in another part of the world.
- A short–term trip can expose someone, at least partially, to what missionary work and a missionary lifestyle are like.
- A short–term trip can get a person outside of their comfort zone and take away their ability to be resourceful.
20 short–term missionaries, 17 from Faith Community Church (FCC), just got back from a short–term mission trip to the Central American country of El Salvador. We spent a total of nine days on the trip and most of the time was in Chalchuapa, a small town in the western part of the nation.
The Lord put together a very interesting team; 11 were under the age of 20, of the 11, four were 13 years or younger. We had three sets of one parent with one child, two elders/pastors, one deacon, a college student, a seminary student and two complete families. The group was not a typical short–term mission group, but the group worked well together and represented FCC and the body of Christ in a God-honoring way.
AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST – In 2 Corinthians 5:14 –21, Paul encourages believers in Corinth to be ambassadors for Christ. As true members of the body of Christ, all of us at FCC are ambassadors for Christ.
Most of you have probably never met an ambassador of a nation. Generally speaking, an ambassador is an official representative from a nation that has been sent to another nation. The ambassador has been given the authority to speak for the president or ruler of the sending nation to the president or ruler of the host nation. During the 14 years we lived in Argentina, there were five different U.S. Ambassadors to Argentina.
So, as ambassadors for Christ, what are our responsibilities? We are given the responsibility to bring the message of salvation in Jesus Christ (Paul calls it the word of reconciliation) to the “nation” where the Lord has sent us. As short–term missionaries, we were acting as ambassadors for Christ. We were focused on bringing the message of salvation in Jesus Christ to the nation of El Salvador in a variety of ways. Some of our activities were to:
- Build a children’s sanctuary
- Do some street evangelism
- Have training classes on how to teach
- Have training classes on how to prepare Bible lessons
- Teach cooking classes
- Meet with all the students of the Christian school that the church sponsors
- Have a vacation Bible school
- Preach, sing, give testimonies, lead devotionals, etc…
But if you are not a short–term or long–term missionary, how can YOU be an ambassador for Christ?
ALLOW GOD TO WORK THROUGH YOU – Paul writes, “…God making His appeal through us…” Maybe you did not go to the nation of El Salvador, but suppose God is sending you as His ambassador to the nation of An Ungodly Workplace? Or perhaps you are an ambassador for Christ to the nation of The Non-Believing Family? I understand that there are usually openings to be an ambassador for Christ to the nation of Living Out Your Christianity While Going Through Tough Times.
What I mean to say is that wherever we are and whatever we do, we are ambassadors for Christ. The best way to have success in being an ambassador for Christ is to allow God to work through you. Another great thing about a short–term mission trip is that it allows you to focus primarily on allowing God to work through you.
I would encourage everyone to go on a short–term trip. Do not allow excuses of age or finance to stand in your way. On our trip to El Salvador, we had an eight-year-old on the team and I have served with 80-year-olds! If money is the problem, plan a year or two in advance and earn the money to go.
And whether going on a short–term trip is in your immediate future or not, be the best ambassador for Christ to whatever nation He sends you. We will be praying for you!
Sincerely and in Christ,
Matt Greco is the headmaster at FCA, a member of FCC and is on the Missions Committee.