short term missions

Reflections on our Cabo Mission Outreach

Last week I was in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on a mission outreach with eleven other people from our church. As with most mission trips the schedule was very demanding to maximize our time and ministry effectiveness so I had no time to write a blog.

Our mission was threefold. We were there to put on a men’s conference, help two churches with construction projects and meet with local church leaders to gain their input for our future involvement there.

The shear logistics of such an ambitious undertaking with just one vehicle stretched all of our sensibilities. The ninth beatitude, “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not get bent out of shape” became our maxim.

We hit the ground running the day of arrival by kicking off the men’s conference with a Saturday evening meeting hosted at the Alpha Y Omega church. We followed that up with three more meetings Sunday morning, afternoon and evening. We concluded the conference on Wednesday night. The main theme was the fatherhood of God and our purpose was to help men address and resolve past issues with their earthly fathers (and mothers) so that they could become rightly related to their heavenly Father.

From the very outset we sensed a powerful presence of the Lord and were awed by the way in which God had drawn a good contingent of men from several area churches accompanied by their pastors. It was unifying to see our worship team of four guys interchange songs with the Alpha worship team.

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The key to a successful mission outreach

All short term mission outreaches begin with great expectations, but not all of them necessarily meet them. I know this is true because as a pastor I have been involved in sending many teams out over the years into cross cultural settings and heard their reports when they return. And I have been on a number of teams and come back with mixed emotions about what I had experienced. I share this candidly but reservedly, idealism about such things was eventually pummeled out of me and I reluctantly settled for the one key to success that will always deliver and never disappoint – low expectations.

All that changed as a result of my recent participation on our church’s eight day outreach to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It categorically far exceeded every expectation and has begun a restoration of healthy idealism in my soul. It has also caused me to think more deeply about what makes for a successful short term mission outreach.

How do you measure whether or not an outreach is successful or effective? Obviously success is in the eyes of the beholder; not only in the eyes of those who go, but even more importantly in the eyes of those who are the recipients. But ultimately, and we often forget this, it is what God sees that really matters.

In God’s eyes success is measured by our obedience of faith to His calling and faithfulness in seeking to bring Him glory. The gold standard and ultimate motivation for any mission sending endeavor always has to go back to John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son that who ever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” Every mission outreach, no matter what the results, is successful in God’s eyes if it flows out of obedience to the great commission and focuses on glorifying God through preaching of the Gospel and expanding His kingdom.

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4 reasons outreaches are life changing

As I reflect upon my week just spent in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, I am realizing afresh what a life changing experience a cross cultural missions outreach can be.Our team of fifteen from Bridgewood Community Church, took some time last Saturday morning before our departure to debrief. The clear consensus was that each of our lives was unalterably touched by God through our relationships with one another, and especially with the people of Cabo.

As is typical of most forays into a strange place and immersion in a different culture, we shared common fears and worries. Would we be able to make the necessary adjustments in the accommodations, food, time schedule and the many demands put upon us to complete our ministry goals? How would we be received by the people we had come to serve? How much of a challenge would the language barrier be in our communication with one another?

In retrospect we can see how all of these fears were allayed by the faithfulness of God. It never ceases to amaze me how everything on an outreach can end up working out for good and for His glory. God’s just-in-time breakthroughs and provision always prevail. And divine connections, the providential meeting and bringing together of key individuals, always delight.

Why are outreaches so life changing?

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