I am wrapping up a wonderful three-week adventure in Europe. I served on a mission trip in Brussels, Belgium for ten days and also got to spend some time with my brother in Sweden afterward. Brussels was my first-ever adult mission trip!
Thank you for generously supporting the Brussels trip with prayer and financial giving. Thank you for your encouragement. Thank you for following my updates on Facebook. Thank you to the volunteers who worked extra hard to lead the Valley Junior High Ministry in my absence—especially Joe, Julie, Michelle, and Todd.
Here are two highlights from my time in Brussels:
- My greatest highlight was meeting Olivier Jonkers. Olivier is a native of Brussels who organized and led our trip. I respected him from the moment I met him. He is clearly called by God to build up the church in Brussels. It was inspiring to hear him passionately share about how God is at work in that city.
- I grew as a leader by being a follower. I’m normally the go-to leader in ministry situations because of my role at my church. It was nice to not be the point person on this trip. Not being in that role helped me step back and learn by observing others lead our group.
Here are two takeaways from Brussels that will impact my life moving forward:
- My view of ministry leadership is deeper. In Brussels there are basically no full-time paid pastors in the evangelical churches. Church leaders, who volunteer their time in ministry, must focus most of their energy on building up other leaders to help share the workload required to run a church. I want to focus more of my energy on building up other volunteer leaders for my ministry because I believe it promotes a biblical model of church leadership.
- My vision for ministry is more focused. As a ministry leader it’s easy to focus on the wrong things like having a large attendance and well-run programs. Those things are not bad, but they’re not the end goal. Ministry is all about helping others follow Jesus. The churches we partnered with in Brussels had that end in mind. Their example has challenged me to resist the temptation to pursue any lesser goal.
I believe once I return home I will be a more effective leader, a more focused pastor, and a more committed disciple of Jesus. I’m glad I followed God’s call to attend this trip. Now I encourage you to consider whether God is calling you on a short- or long-term mission trip as part of the Church’s mission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations.