5 Reasons Not to Go on a Mission Trip

by Jessica Purdy

You’ve thought about the “why’s.”

Here are the “why not’s.”

Unfortunately, sometimes we can have the wrong motivations and intentions going into a mission trip. Make sure you are aware of your reasons for going and what you are going to be doing while you are there. That being said, here are some reasons NOT to go on a mission trip:

1. The focus is on you and not on the community you’re going to

We go on mission trips as humble learners. If we go into it with the mindset that we are the center of attention continue to put all of the focus on ourselves, then we are going to end up doing more harm than good.  

2. You’re painting a wall that has been painted 5 times before, or doing other busy work that really does not need to be done.

If your plans for the mission trip are only to do things that other people have done before you, then it may be wise to reconsider going on the trip. The purpose of short term mission trips is not to do unnecessary work just to stay busy.  We should also be careful to not do work that will have to be redone after we leave because our team lacks the skills to do it well. Worse yet, we might be replacing local jobs by showing up to do for free what local people do for a living.

3. You’re more focused on the project than the relationships.

Jesus was focused on building relationships, that should be our focus as well. People should be the focus of the trip, not the work you are doing.

4. You have no intention of staying engaged with this community after you leave.

These are real people with real lives. You should be engaging with them and building relationships, not doing a project and leaving without giving the people a second thought.

5. You’ve got some stuff to sort out with God, and the intensity of a mission trip will probably fix things

Short term mission trips are not a bandaid to put on your spiritual problems. Whatever you are going through will not be solved just because you go on a mission trip. If anything, it could be made worse. The intensity of a mission trip will bring out any struggles you have and magnify them. It will not solve them.

Most people who go on mission trips go with good intentions, but good Intentions aren’t enough. We have to keep in mind that what we are doing impacts people we have to make sure that that impact is not a negative one. Often good intentions can do more harm than good. Make sure that your motivations and intentions are going to be helpful, not harmful.


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