A Note from John Roach
Dr. John Roach

This season is especially exciting for our Missions Team, as spring officially kicks off our Mission Trip season!  Last week we sent six teams out during Spring Break to share the gospel in Brazil, Puerto Rico, Seattle, Utah, Mexico, and Italy.  On Palm Sunday weekend, we will send out five more teams to help church planters in Fort Worth, Colorado, and Florida canvas neighborhoods and help with outreach events in preparation for Easter.  Still another team will set off for Scotland in April, and this summer we’ll send out 17 teams across seven states and six different countries.  How incredible is that!!

It takes a lot of time, resources, relationships, and money to send people worldwide, and I often get asked—is it worth it?  Do short-term trips make a difference?  I always answer that question with a resounding YES!

First and foremost, our teams get to share the gospel with people who have never heard about the love of Jesus and work alongside churches that lack the resources and volunteers to reach their communities independently.  Our partnership empowers these missionaries, pastors, and churches in tremendous ways. I am reminded of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, where he says, “I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you…because of your partnership in the gospel!” (Phil. 1:3, 5)

We take our partnerships very seriously. Serving alongside these pastors, planters, and church members can be some of the most impactful types of serving. These mission trips allow our church to love on and encourage the missionaries, pastors, and their families we support while serving alongside them.  Oftentimes, just our presence is life-giving to these individuals and families. There is just something so powerful about the idea of knowing you are not alone. Church planting is lonely and challenging work.  A team locking arms with a pastor or missionary family and sharing the burden with them for even a weekend can breathe life into their ministry and encourage them to stay on the front lines.

Perhaps the most remarkable impact is on those who go on these trips. You simply cannot go on a mission trip and come home unchanged.  Spiritual walks are deepened, new friendships are formed, and families serving together bond in unique ways.  We also see time and time again that what is learned and practiced on the mission field gets replicated at home.  The repeated practice of sharing the gospel with strangers makes people more comfortable sharing with friends and family in their own community.  Working alongside churches and ministries in other countries has also been shown to increase service at home.  In fact, Summit Church found that 93% of its members involved in local missions had been on an international mission trip. It is undeniable that mission trips change your heart in a unique way and shape the way you see and serve others around you.

During our Palm Sunday trips, teams will work hard to invite as many as possible to attend Easter worship services.  Those teams may never see any fruit from their work or meet the people who are impacted by their willingness to serve, but the Lord can and will use those planted seeds in many ways.  We were reminded of this truth recently by our church plant partner Redemption City in Fort Worth.  The pastor there shared the story of a young woman who received a church invite during an outreach event along a popular running trail where a team was passing out water bottles with invitations to worship.  This particular woman held onto the invite she got on that running trail for THREE YEARS before she finally decided to visit Redemption City.  Just a few weeks ago they celebrated her baptism!!

Never underestimate the power of an invitation—whether on a mission trip, at the jobsite or in your neighborhood—you never know how the Lord can use this simple ask.  As we near Easter, think of who in your circle you can invite to hear-maybe for the very first time-the transforming power of the truth of Jesus.