by Mark Jent, Director of Missions Outreach
Welcome to the second edition of our monthly newsletter! We are so excited to be sharing our passion for faith and service with more than 5,000 friends of Lipscomb Missions just like you, all of whom have had a hand in helping write our story over the last 10 years. Our vision for Lipscomb Missions is simple: short-term missions with long-term vision. We recruit, organize and facilitate short-term mission trips around the world. Why? Well, we’re glad you asked!
We build mission trips to serve. From Spring Break Nashville, where our team stays in town and works with immigrant communities in their own backyard, to New York City, where we partner with Camp Shiloh and P.S. 179 in the Bronx. Around the world, in the little Eastern European country of Moldova, our teams provide counseling and emotional support for girls caught in human trafficking. Down south in remote areas of Guatemala, our engineering teams work with local Mayan tribes to provide life-saving infrastructure like bridges and clean water solutions. All of our trips were started by someone in our community who noticed a need and listened when God asked them what they could do about it.
We build mission trips for change. Students and others come to us during the most spiritually formative years of their lives, eager to serve and make a difference. We take that raw talent and passion and channel it into opportunities for worldwide evangelism, community development, humanitarian aid, and of course, those students’ own spiritual formation. They come to us, wide-eyed and ready to change the world, and in the process often find that God uses the world to change their hearts, lives, and expectations.
We build mission trips for our community. We used to be called the Student Missions Program, and while it’s true that students comprise the largest percentage of our nearly 700 servants each year, we’re a whole lot more than just students. With 75 faculty and staff volunteering their time, plus another 75 alumni and over 100 area professionals like doctors, nurses, ministers, engineers, and artists, we’re thrilled to be a program full of people from all walks of life simply looking to connect their skills and passions with the heart of God.
We build mission trips to discover. We can all discover ways to serve, no matter what we do. Sure, we’d love to see more full-time missionaries, but the reality is that only a few of us will ever sell our houses and move to Africa. But, for the teacher with a calling to love and nurture kids in an inner-city school, that classroom is her “Africa”. For the faithful accountant who finds him or herself crunching numbers in a high-rise office building, that workplace can be just as missional as any mud-brick town in Honduras. Serving in short-term missions changes the way we see our lives, and we want to help people discover the mission field that awaits them, no matter what they study or do for a living.
We build mission trips to make a difference for the long-term. We intentionally partner with host ministries who are already doing amazing work around the world. We know we can’t do much in a week or two, but over time, year after year, we build deep relationships with great partner ministries, serving them as they serve the communities they live in. Effectiveness in ministry comes from a relationship, and relationship comes from spending time together- so we take a long-term view of our involvement, even though we just send short-term teams. Aside from the occasional emergency relief trip, we don’t do “one and done” trips where a team shows up and then never goes back. Ministries who we partner with come to know that they can depend on us, relying on the talent, resources, and advocacy Lipscomb Missions provides. It’s an involved process to start a new trip with us, because we don’t go into any of this lightly. Out of the 50 trips for 2013, we have been facilitating 20 for a decade or more. Another 15 trips have been returning to the same locations for 5-9 years. We see the big picture and the change that we help to create over time. For us, there’s nothing more exciting than that.
Finally, we build mission trips for the relationships. Our teams don’t go back year after year because they love fundraising. They don’t do it because they love the prep meetings week after week beforehand. They do it because they have a deep love for the people that they know they’ll see after they step out of that car or off that plane. They do it because the experience of serving alongside fellow Christians in another context and from another culture is one unlike any other, offering a glimpse into the magnitude of what God is doing among His people throughout the world.
At Lipscomb Missions, we think our jobs are pretty cool. We get to be in the middle of a lot of dreams, talents, and passions while helping it all turn into action for the Kingdom. But we don’t do it alone. Sending 700 people to serve around the world would not be possible without a lot of mothers, fathers, husbands, and wives saying “go” to our participants. Sending 700 people to serve wouldn’t be possible without a lot of $25, $50, and sometimes larger checks from friends, families and churches. Sending 700 people would never be possible without our ministry partners who guide our teams’ work. Sending 700 people to serve would not be possible without the support staff and infrastructure from Lipscomb University, which reflects service to the Kingdom and the mission of God at its core.
So, whether you go, give, pray, or host - we thank you, because at Lipscomb Missions, we know that our story is your story, too.