Skubalon
I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus and count them but rubbish.

Mission Trip Notes: The Real Thing

5 of 9 Members of Beattyville Team at Natural Bridge

In Acts 2 & 4 we read of what the 1st Century church was like at Jerusalem. We read of a gathering of believers who were a true community. They did things together daily in a very close and personal way. Ways that produced close community and a togetherness that set a perfect example of what the body of Christ should be on many levels.

Fast forward to our time. In the west we focus primarily on Independence and doing. Thus many times we don’t have that Godly fellowship that we see playing out in Acts. Now I’m not saying that churches who meet two or three times a week do not build community. They can but b/c there is still distance and business that can often fall short of the beauty Christ had in store when we established the church. I know many churches have strived to work community into the church if they feel it is lacking but I still see there being some failings in it.

I say all this b/c recently I was able to be part of my favorite environment that so closely produces the Acts church community, our mission trip. A mission trip is the only time were I felt we came as close as we have to the community that the 1st Church had and the community God desires us to have to experience the full benefit of fellowship together. I enjoyed every moment of it. We laughed together, worked hard together, ministered together, stressed together and even gathered around one of our fallen team members together.

Here is how the comparison works out based on the Acts 2 & 4 example:

  • They devoted themselves to the Apostles teachings and fellowship

During the morning we had personal devotion and in the evening we had a time of singing and devotion again. We were dedicated to spending time together in worship and learning.

Also, and I say this honestly I don’t recall too many times during the week that we conversed about the things of the world. I am sure we did. But I do recall many conversations that were directed toward our lives in the Lord. The issue of what style of music brings Glory to God. Can we limit that. The issue of the creation of the world by God. Is it 6 literal days or was the time between day one and two longer b/c God had not marked time as we know it by the sun and moon in its rotation. Many other conversations came from out talks. True community is not talking about who won the big game or how big your big screen tv is but true community comes when we grow closer talking about the Lord.

  • All the believers were together and have everything in common.

I can’t recall much time when we were apart. Sure sleeping and other necessary private moments, but otherwise we were together on the job, at vbs, even an evening just sitting around was enjoyably spent laughing at the many farm like animals the Missions Directors grand daughter had. It was a time to laugh. We also worked together to provide food and everyone worked hard to be a team player so that everyone would be benefited by the hard work. There is just something very important about constant time together.

  • They broke bread together and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.

Meals have always been a big part of any community. One thing that was a significant part of our time together was the working together to prepare our food and then to sit down and eat it together.

  • All the believers were of one heart and mind.

Being on the same page is so important for the success of a trip. In the 1st church the want to make sure there was unity was important as well. I found that we were the most unified team I have ever been part of. Even in times of strife we banded together to be united.

I remember one time we had to discuss the differing views about when to stop working for the week. Thursday afternoon or Friday. The typical group stops on Thursday and cleans up the site that afternoon. But some feeling the wish to continue to work hard for the people there wished to go on into Friday. As a community should we brought it to light and talked about it openly finding compromise in the area. We decided to work all day Thursday and go back and clean up Friday morning. This compromise was discussed as it should. Fairly and finding a balance that would work for all.

  • Togetherness brings a love for each other that sacrifices.

Close to the end of the trip one of our own fell and tore his ACL. It has become a common injury in our time. But what was great to see is even in such a stressful moment this group banded together to work well together. B/c of the remote area we were in the person had to be air lifted out to the closest hospital. And as a team and community we all drove the hour and a half to the hospital to be with our fallen comrade. We did not return home until 3:30am. But this team would have it no other way.

In the end I think the best way to experience community for all its great moments and moments of stress you must do a mission trip. I can’t promise it will always go well b/c community sometimes is ugly and rough but if you want to see what the first church was like in its intimacies then you should go.

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