Open Letter To Our Mission Trip Takers

Once again we have a solid group of students – both high school and college who have already committed to doing a mission project in the summer of 2012. This is such a huge highlight for me because I know these are life-changing opportunities for both the students as well as the place they go. The big one for Western Hills is of course our partnership with Word of Life in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

This is the letter I wrote the team this week…

An open letter to our students going on a mission trip this summer,
From your favorite pastor. (Okay – I’m your only one. Just humor me for a moment.)

I don’t want to sound over-dramatic but there two things that I think the Lord is pressing on me to say to you.

First – thank you. For the last 4 years, the only international mission trips that Western Hills has been a part of has been with students. It should NOT be this way – we grown ups should be modeling for you what the Great Commission and Great Commandment look like. But it is. You are showing us.

You are showing us to be obedient to the command of Jesus – to go into ALL the world to tell ALL people about Jesus. We need this. I need this. Without this model – we’ll never grow into the church we need to be. You are the church of the NOW.

Second – hang in there and get wet.

What the heck is that supposed to mean?

Here’s what it means – Joshua 3 – God has given this ridiculous sized mission to a young leader named Joshua who has never led before. The mission was to occupy the land that God had been promising Israel for hundred of years. It would be a mission of incredible importance and supreme danger.

The biggest obstacle? The first 50 feet in front of them. The Jordan River. In flood stage.

In order to get to the land, they had to cross the river and it just looked insurmountable. Joshua was thinking about giving up before they ever got started.

Look at how many times God says to Joshua “Do not be afraid, have courage” in the first 3 chapters. It’s ridiculous. It’s beyond ridiculous. It makes you wonder if Joshua was really just a big baby and God was having to babysit him. Why does God take so much time at the start to “talk Joshua up?”

Because the biggest obstacle to completing the mission of God will always be the first 50 steps. ALWAYS!

The enemy knows that if he can get you to quit early, it’s done. People who have seen God work and have a taste of God coming through at the last minute – they don’t quit. They know better. So the pressure to quit is ALWAYS at the start, near the beginning.

And again at the very end.

Back to Joshua 3 – get wet. God is going to give Joshua a glimpse of what He can do if he will just obey. A glimpse enough to get him moving and obeying. God tells Joshua and the leaders to go stand in the Jordan river as if they are going to cross it.

When they do this — the river stops flowing. It becomes a dry river bed. Easy to cross. And they cross it. And hence a pattern is started for God’s people. You start the journey, you be obedient, you get wet. Then I’ll show up. But you are going to have to get wet first.

So my friends, here is what I’m telling you…


And let the rest of us watch God work in you and through you.

It’s my honor to be your pastor and friend.


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