The difference between a mission trip and a vacation
“A mission trip is just a vacation that someone else pays for.” Lots of mission trip critics say this, and they’re right. Sometimes. At first glance mission trips and vacations do look pretty similar. They both involve taking time off from school or work, traveling to a new place, and taking lots of pictures.
However, if you’re really going on a mission trip, there will always be one huge difference. The difference is your purpose.
However, if you're really going on a mission trip, there will always be one huge difference.
The difference is your purpose.
Self-centered vs. Selfless
The purpose of a vacation is to maximize your own personal enjoyment, relaxation, and pleasure. It's a trip that's all about you. It's self-centered.
On the other hand, the purpose of a mission trip is to maximize the name of Jesus by serving others. It's a trip that's all about others. It's selfless.
When a mission trip turns into a vacation
Can a mission trip turn into a vacation? Yes, if you're not being intentional.
What are your motives and reasons for going? To snap some cool pictures, get to know a cute guy or girl, or travel to an exotic place? If this is where your motives start and end, you're not honestly on a mission trip; you're more on a vacation because you're only focusing on yourself (self-centered).
What's your motivation?
Since we're all naturally self-centered, we need to be intentional about having selfless motives. It's not bad or wrong to take pictures, have fun with your teammates, or enjoy traveling. However, you don't want one of those to be your primary motivations during your trip. Motives turn into actions. So, if taking pictures is your primary motive, it'll be your primary action all throughout your mission trip.
On the other hand, if you're intentional about having motives like serving others, digging wells, or sharing God's love with children, then these will be the motives that turn into actions on your mission trip.
Think about it
Which way is your trip leaning? The mission trip side or the vacation side? The selfless side or the self-centered side?
No trip is perfect, and we all struggle with self-centered motives. However, if we're striving to be better reflections of Jesus, we need to be moving in a selfless direction. Jesus was rarely focused on getting great selfies during His trips.