Fading into Fall
Recently I’ve seen several people posting photos of their mission trips this summer. Their teams worked in the heat of June and July, and now they are home and preparing for back-to-school. The stores are fully stocked with pencils, paper, markers and folders. Saturday the stores in my area were packed with parents and children with the supply lists, choosing new backpacks and lunch kits along with new crayons and reams of paper.
It is easy for people to get caught up in the busy-ness of everyday life once they are back from a mission trip. The mission trip was a great time away, a time to deeply connect with friends from church, a time to offer sweat and service to others, a time to worship with new friends and sing praise to God in a different language. But once you’re home, the joys and deep connections that you experienced on the mission trip get pushed to the back of your mind as the demands of daily life take over.
Mission in Three Movements
Mission theologian Anthony Gittins describes mission in three movements: Homeland, Wonderland, Newfound land. What Gittins describes is that we begin our mission adventure from home, where we know the area, we know our neighborhood, our church, our home. We are known by our family, our friends, our church. Then we travel to the Wonderland, a new place, where we meet new people and have new challenges. Sometimes when we are in the Wonderland we have experiences that help us to see with fresh eyes where God is at work in the world. Then we come home, and we experience our place with fresh vision – we see it anew, as if for the first time. And we may have questions – questions about our experience on the mission site, questions about things we saw there, questions about the needs we see now at home.
One of the deep questions people often have after a mission trip is about mutuality. 1 Corinthians 12:27 says that we are together members of the body of Christ, and this guides our understanding of mutuality in mission. But how is it possible for us to really be in relationship with each other and express that mutuality as the body of Christ in a few days work together? A post-mission trip retreat can offer time together as a team to consider questions like this, and to dig into resources that can help your church continue to be faithful in mission practice, and to help you plan your next mission trip.
Sister of Hope Ministries has dates available to lead mission team retreats this fall. Contact us today and schedule your consultation. We want to hear about your experience in mission!