BEFORE YOU GO Take Time To Prepare
“I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me”
Philippians 4:13 (CSB)
When planning a journey of any type, we must prepare for it. We make lists of things to do, things to carry with us, things to do while we are there. We take care of those things that need attention before we leave and we have someone available to take care of those unforeseen happenings that occur while we are away.
Preparing for a mission trip to Appalachia is no different – except for two major items: Spiritual Preparation and Cultural Preparation!
When serving on or leading a mission team, we must prepare our heart, our soul, and our mind for the work God has led us to do. Within our own strength, we are limited as to what we can do. Projects may seem impossible and for many, they are, but if we place our faith and trust in God, He can accomplish all those things we find impossible. “I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 (CSB)
Here are some ways to help you prepare Spiritually for mission work in Appalachia:
Read the Bible
When we go on a mission trip, we enter spiritual warfare. Satan does not want us to be successful in sharing the Good News of Jesus with those who are lost to a life of sin. A critical part of our armor is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). Jesus showed us the power of God’s Word when He used it defeat Satan during His forty-days of temptation in the wilderness, and so must we (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-12).
To be prepared for spiritual battle, we must put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-13). We do that daily by reading and studying His Word, talking about it, and by always being prepared to share it.
“For the Word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
To help you with your Spiritual preparation, a special 42-Day Devotional Guide, built around the Book of Acts, has been prepared.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path”
(Psalm 119:105 CSB).
Daily fellowship with the Father is essential and prayer is the way we do that. We should never embark on God’s work without first praying for His guidance over an extended period.
Through prayer, we will find God’s will for us and what He wants us to accomplish on this mission. Through prayer, He equips us with necessary skills, attitude, demeanor, and willingness to be out of our comfort zone and yet show the love of Jesus to those we are helping.
Jesus is our example for prayer. He sought out that quiet place where He could talk with His Father in Heaven (Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; Matthew 14:23). We should do the same. The Bibles tells us we should pray without ceasing, praying always (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 6:17).
Once you have determined the location where you feel God is leading you to serve, begin to pray specifically about the mission trip, the lostness in the area where you will be serving, and specific requests from the church or ministry center where you will be serving. Pray for the other members of your team. Ask others to join with you as prayer partners and to pray for you daily as you prepare and take your mission trip. Be sure and keep your prayer partners up to date on your prayer needs and what God is doing in your life.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age”
Matthew 28:19-20 CSB
Many of us consider ourselves to be mission minded. We faithfully give to missions and pray for our missionaries, which is great; but all too often, that is as far as we go.
To be MISSIONAL means we not only Give to missions and Pray for missions, but we also Go on mission.
Shortly before He returned to heaven, Jesus set forth the Great Commission,
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20 CSB).
Thus, to be missional is to be obedient.
It is important to note Jesus’ last words before departing earth for Heaven. Because they were His parting words, we must realize that He was placing much emphasis on them and His expectation for us to be obedient to them.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8 CSB).
Appalachian Mountain Ministry prays that everyone who considers coming to Appalachia will be spiritually prepared for the work God has led them to do.