Following Jesus: 2022 Spring Break Mission Trip - Radical

Following Jesus: 2022 Spring Break Mission Trip

It can seem easy to have a missional mindset when we go on a short-term mission trip to some place overseas or outside of our own context. We naturally see others in light of their greatest need—salvation in Christ. But what if we took that same approach with the people we interact with on a daily basis? How might that change the way we look at our neighbors and their need for Christ? In this message from Mark 6:7–13, David Platt challenges the church to consider their lives over the next couple weeks as if they were on a short-term mission trip. Rather than settling for what’s comfortable and easy, we ought to trust God to work as we intentionally share the gospel and meet the needs of those around us.

Well, if you have a Bible—and I hope you or somebody around you does that you can look on with—let me invite you to open with me to Mark 6. As you’re turning there, I want to welcome you. It’s good to be together around God’s Word. Regardless of where you are, I want to welcome you officially to the start of our 2022 Metro DC Spring Break Mission Trip.

Now, you might think, “I didn’t sign up for a mission trip,” but I have surprising news for you. When you walked into the room where you are sitting right now, , or joined in online, if you are a follower of Jesus, then you signed up. Now, if you’re not a follower of Jesus and you’re here or joining in online with a family member or friend who’s invited you, or maybe you’re exploring Christianity on your own, we are really glad you’re here and would love for you to be part of this mission trip with us. I’ll talk more about that later.

For everyone who is a follower of Jesus, this is actually what it means to be a follower of Jesus. When you chose to follow Jesus, you signed up—not just for a mission trip, but for a mission life. So there’s a sense in which this Sunday is no different than any other Sunday. This is a gathering of Jesus’ people on mission in the world. Now the reason I’m welcoming you to a two-week mission trip today is because of the word we’re about to hear from God.

Mark 6:7–13 Reveals that the Disciples Went on Mission Trips Too

We’re walking through the story of Jesus in the book of Mark and today we come to a time when Jesus sent His disciples out on a short-term mission trip. Let’s go ahead and read it together, then I’ll explain more. Mark 6:7-13:

And [Jesus] called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

Now, we don’t know exactly how long this mission trip lasted, but we do know it was for a brief period of time. If you read from verse 14, where we just left off, all the way down to verse 29you will see what happens next is the story of how John the Baptist died. Then you pick up in verse 30 and listen to what it says: “The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught.”

So at this point, they’ve come back and they spend time debriefing with Jesus all that had happened on this trip. The reason I’m calling this a two-week mission trip is because next Sunday, Lord willing, our plan is to study verses 14-29 together about John the Baptist, then we’ll come back to verse 30 two Sundays from now. So we’re going to look at the next two weeks as a mission trip that starts with Jesus sending out His disciples today and ends when we come back together two Sundays from now in verse 30.

Basically, over these next two weeks, I want to call us to do what Jesus called His disciples to do in this text today—go on a mission trip. Now, if you’ve never been on a mission trip before, here’s how it works. You travel with a group of people to a particular place. I think about large trips we’ve taken as a church to places like the Dominican Republic or Ethiopia. The whole goal of the trip is to work together in that place to build up the church and lead people to Jesus. That’s why you’re on the trip. Then usually, when you get to that place, everybody gets together to make sure you all understand the plan: “All right, here we are and here’s what we’re going to be doing.” So that’s what we’re doing today.

Here we are in our nation’s capital—interestingly, a lot of people come to Metro DC for mission trips. It just so happens we live here. So let’s think about where we are—in a metropolitan area of over six million people. Research shows that in this location, about 12.5% of the people are in churches. Now, we don’t know what kind of churches and we do know that just because someone is in church does not mean they’re a follower of Jesus. All kinds of people call themselves Christians and go to church who are not followers of Jesus. Even if we assume that all those people who are in churches are Jesus’ people, that still leaves over 5.3 million people in this city where we’re doing this mission trip who don’t know Jesus. There are 5.3 million people who, if they were to die right now, would go to everlasting, never-ending judgment and suffering. Never-ending.

Now, usually on a mission trip, you don’t know any of these people you’re going to be interacting with, but that’s different for us during the next couple weeks because some of these people are your family, friends, neighbors. Some are your classmates at school, teammates in sports or people you work out with at the gym. Some are you coworkers. You interact with some of them all the time. Then there are others you’ll interact with for the first time over the next two weeks, a store, a restaurant or wherever else you might go.

I think of an Uber driver I met on a ride last week from Soviet Georgia. As we talked about the war in Ukraine, I asked, “If you were to die today, do you know for sure where you would spend eternity?” He looked back at me in the rearview mirror and said, “Ha. That is a really good question, man. I have no idea, but if I were to guess, I don’t think I’d go to heaven.” So I shared the gospel with him, invited him to put his trust in Jesus and gave him my contact information to follow up.

There are over five million individual people—men, women, boys, girls; like that Uber driver —right now in this city who don’t know Jesus. So we have a lot of work to do—together. That’s key. None of us is in this alone. You don’t go on a mission trip alone. Jesus gave these instructions in Mark collectively to His disciples and even called them to go out together two by two.

So we’re calling every member of I to be a part of a church group or community that’s caring for each other like family, growing together in Christ and making disciples together on mission. You can always find information about how to connect with one of those groups on our website. To be the church means to be on mission together.

Sadly, we’ve created a whole picture of church today as an event you attend on a Sunday every once in a while—or even just watching online. But that’s not church. It’s what we’ve created and called church, but it’s not what Jesus calls church. Church is Jesus’ people united together on a mission. So let’s think about this mission trip He’s sending us on.

I really want us to think specifically about the next two weeks. Let’s picture it like we’re traveling to Metro DC for the next two weeks and today we’re kicking off our trip. I want to give us five simple words of encouragement for us on this trip, straight from this text.

1. Let’s go in Jesus’ name.

Over the next two weeks, let’s go out from wherever we’re sitting right now in Jesus’ name. Verse seven says, “[Jesus] called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.” There’s so much here in just this one verse. Let’s think about it together.

Think about who Jesus is sending out here: the twelve. Now, a couple thousand years later, we obviously have a lot of respect for these disciples and all they did. But at this point in the book of Mark, let’s just think about the impression we have of them. The more we think about what we’ve seen of these guys, the more we might think, “These guys were not the sharpest tools in the shed.” This is not the all-star team you want on a mission trip.

Just two chapters before this, Jesus told a relatively simple parable of the soils and they were clueless. Right after that, in chapter four, they were afraid and scared. In chapter five, they were all frustrated. Now keep in mind, none of these guys were from the religious elite, nor anything elite. They were common at best, despised at worst. Fishermen. A tax collector. A zealot, who would be viewed like a terrorist. And they all still had a lot to learn. It’s not like they had arrived.

Two chapters after this, Jesus says to them, “Do you guys still not get it?” Two chapters after that, they’re arguing with each other over who’s better than the others. But here they are, in Mark 6, and Jesus is sending them out to cast out demons and unclean spirits, to heal people and to preach. How is that possible? The answer is in these words: “He sent them out.” That’s actually one word in the original language of the New Testament—apostello—from which we get the word apostle. It literally means to send out on an authorized mission on someone else’s behalf. That is the picture of what’s happening here. Jesus is authorizing this group of disciples to go out in His name with His authority to do His work in His power.

This is so important to grasp. These guys weren’t going out to start their own work; they were extending Jesus’ work. They were not going out on their own; they were going out in Jesus’ name, as Jesus’ representatives, with Jesus’ message, Jesus’ power and Jesus’ authority to do Jesus’ work. They couldn’t cast out unclean spirits on their own, heal people on their own, preach on their own. Not these guys, not in and of themselves. The whole point is that they would be going out in Jesus’ name.

The same is true for all of us on this mission trip over the next two weeks. So I look around this room and with all due respect, you are not the sharpest tools in the shed. I’m looking through the cameras at those of you in other locations and online—you’re not either. Here’s what I mean. I see people who are struggling in your faith in a variety of ways. I see some people for whom it was a struggle to even show up today. I see people who have so much more to learn about the Bible and what it means to follow Jesus. I see people who feel tired and weak in a variety of ways. I see a host of people with struggles, with sin, doubts, fears, worries and anxiety. I see people who are afraid to share the gospel, to the point where most—let’s be honest—don’t do it.

In surveys across our church family, we’ve asked about sharing the gospel and the majority of us hardly ever, if ever, do that. You feel uncomfortable when you have the opportunity. You’re not quite sure how to begin a conversation that leads to talking about Jesus. Even if you do, you get into situations where you can start that conversation, but then you bail.

At this point, I should just add, I am one of those people. You might say, “No, you’re not. You’re the pastor.” And to that I would say, “You are a fool.” I’m really not trying to offend you, but you’re a fool to think that any pastor doesn’t have more to learn, doesn’t have struggles, fears and weakness, doesn’t sometimes sit silent in the face of everyday opportunities to share the gospel. So brothers and sisters, we’re all in this together.

But Jesus has called our names to go out these next two weeks as His representatives in this city, with His authority to do His work. Every follower of Jesus within the sound of my voice, you have been summoned by Jesus’ love, not just to be saved by Him, but to be sent out by Him. So just look at these next two weeks like a short-term mission trip, just like it was for these first disciples.

God has placed you and me in Metropolitan Washington, DC, in a sea of over five million people who need Jesus. He’s sending you and me out in His name to do His work across this city—in your school, your workplace, your neighborhood, at that gym, in restaurants, wherever you go over the next two weeks. None of us needs to underestimate what can happen when we go out in the name of Jesus.

Let me tell you a story about Aneel and Hari. Standing on this stage, I said something exactly five years ago this month and was reminded of it this week when I met a brother from India, who lives in India, who’s living out the exact same story right now. He had tears in his eyes, telling me about all that God is doing in Jesus’ name.

Five years ago I told you about Bihar, India. It’s one of the most spiritually and physically impoverished places in the world. Bihar is a state in India about the size of Virginia. The only difference is that Virginia has about eight million people; Bihar has about a hundred million people. Just feel the mass, spread out across 45,000 different villages. The majority of these people are extremely poor, with millions living in desperate poverty. The majority of them are unreached by the gospel. They’ve never heard the good news of God’s love in Jesus. Bihar is approximately 0.1% Christian. Most Indians in Bihar are Hindu and have been for generations, even centuries.

I’ll never forget a mission trip I was on in Bihar when I met Aneel and Hari. Aneel is a school superintendent; Hari is a chicken farmer. Years ago these brothers were struggling in their faith and struggling to share their faith when they came to some training in disciple-making that we helped provide. At this training, they were encouraged to get in groups of two, go into a totally unreached village—where there’s no Christian and no church—and the first person they spoke to, they were to say, “Hi. We are here in the name of Jesus and we would like to pray for your village,” then ask how they could pray. Aneel and Hari looked at each other and said, “This will never work.” Then they listened some more, looked at each other again and said, “But nothing else we do ever works, so we might as well try.”

So they got together one day and went out into a village where there was no Christian and no church. They walked through the village and nobody was even paying attention to them. Finally, near the end of the village, somebody came up to them and said, “What are you guys doing here? I don’t recognize you.” So they started their pre-scripted line: “Hi. We are here in the name of Jesus and we would…” Before they could finish the rest of the line, the guy interrupted them and said, “Did you just say Jesus? I’ve heard a little bit about Him. Can you guys tell me more?” Aneel and Hari looked at each other and said, “Yes, we can tell you more.” So they started to share about Jesus.

Before long the guy interrupted them again. This was when Aneel and Hari were thinking, “Ah, it’s about to go south.” But the guy said, “Wait a minute. I really want my friends and family to hear this. Can you come to my house? I can gather them together so they can also hear about Jesus.” Aneel and Hari said, “Yes, we can do that.”

They followed this man to his house, he left them there and gathered a group of his friends and family. They gathered around Aneel and Hari and said, “Please tell us about Jesus.” For the first time ever, these people heard the gospel, the good news of God’s love in Jesus. Long story short, over the next two weeks, about 20 in that village come to faith in Jesus.

Mark 6:7–13 Shows Us the Importance of Spreading the Gospel 

Praise God for that part of the story, but here’s where it gets better. Aneel and Hari looked at these new believers who had just come to faith in Jesus and said, “All right, here’s what we’re going to do. Get together in groups of two and you’re going to go out into other villages like yours. When you get there, the first person who comes up to you, use this line. You’re not going to think it’s going to work, but it worked on you guys, so just go and see what happens.” So they went into village after village, and within three years disciples had been made and churches had been planted in 350 different villages in Bihar, India. This Indian brother I met this week is doing the same thing today. He was telling me, with tears in his eyes, about all that God is doing in India.

I’m thinking about our church family, right here, right now in this city, and the opportunity we have to make disciples and multiply churches in the capital of our country, then from here and around the world. If 20 believers in Bihar, India—starting with two—filled with the Holy Spirit of God, proclaiming the gospel of God, could see what they have seen, how much more, with thousands of people going out with the Spirit of God and the gospel of God in Jesus’ name in this city?

So let’s do this. Let’s all of us do this. No matter how young or old you are in the faith, whether you’re a school superintendent or a chicken farmer, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how far you have to go. Again, think about these disciples. It wasn’t about them; it was about Jesus.

2. Let’s trust in God’s provision.

So let’s go in Jesus’ name. Then, the second word of encouragement is to trust in God’s provision. In verses eight and nine, Jesus “charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.” Get the picture here. No, I’m not telling you that you need to find some sandals, a staff and a tunic. Your J’s and your backpack, your suit and your briefcase will be just fine.

Get the picture here. Just imagine laying out on your bed everything you would take on a mission trip, then hearing Jesus say, “Okay, put on one set of clothes, grab a toothbrush and let’s go.” The picture was clear. Jesus was calling His disciples to trust God to supply everything they would need on this trip. Jesus was calling them into a journey of faith.

That is exactly what we’re embarking on over the next two weeks—a journey of faith—trusting God to provide everything we need. We’re trusting Him to give us spiritual strength in our weakness, spiritual courage when we’re tempted to cower, spiritual power that overcomes our timidity. If you look over at the same charge Jesus gives in the parallel account of this story in Matthew 10, there Jesus says, “I and my Father, through the Holy Spirit, will give you everything you need, including the very words you need to speak in that moment. Just trust Me.”

This is so important. Don’t miss this. Christian brother or sister, you don’t need faith, you don’t need trust in God, to live out a quiet, casual, comfortable Christianity over the next two weeks. You can do that just fine on your own. You don’t need the power of God to live out cultural Christianity, where you’re silent with the gospel. Millions of professing Christians are doing that on their own every week. But Jesus is calling us to something greater, something higher. He’s calling us to step out in faith, putting our lives and reputations on the line. That’s all we’re talking about today. For two weeks, just say, “God, I don’t want to sit back and settle for self-centered, self-saturated, casual, comfortable cultural Christianity. That’s not what I was made for. So I’m going to step out over the next two weeks and I’m going to trust You to give me what I need. God, I’m being honest with You. I’m weak. I’m timid. I’m afraid. I can’t do this on my own. But over the next two weeks I want to step out in faith and let the chips fall where they may. I want to trust You to help me live this life You’ve created me to live.”

This is the life you’ve been created to live. Your heart was not made to be glad in hoarding the gospel; that’s not where joy and satisfaction in life are found. Your heart was made to be glad and experience life by giving the gospel away. This is what we’re made for and God is waiting for us to step out and trust Him to do what only He can do. Don’t you want to live this kind of life, that which can only be explained by His name and His power and His Spirit at work?

So let’s step out and trust Him to provide. Let’s go in Jesus’ name, trusting God’s provision

3. Let’s call people to repent.

Then third, this is where the rubber meets the road. Let’s call people to repent. This is the primary activity we’re called to do on a mission trip. You don’t travel somewhere on a mission trip, then when someone asks, “What are you going to do?” you say, “I’m going to go to this place and I’m going to smile all week long and just be nice to people.” Okay, that’s good, but really? It seems like we’re called to be more than just nice people. Yes, be good people, of course.

We’re actually called to proclaim a message, which is why verse 12 says, “So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent.” This makes sense, doesn’t it? They were going out in Jesus’ name, with Jesus’ authority and Jesus’ message, and that’s exactly what His message was. Remember Mark 1:14-15? “Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel’”—the good news of God’s love for you.

This is where we come to those of you who are not yet followers of Jesus, because this is God’s message for you. It’s the message of the entire Bible and the message God has brought you to this moment to hear. Each one of us has been created for relationship with God. We’re created to walk with God—our Creator—to know Him and to enjoy Him forever. The problem is we have all sinned against God. We have turned aside from God and His ways to ourselves and our own ways, so our sin has separated us from God. As a result of our sin against God, we deserve eternal judgment before God. But the good news of the Bible is that God loves us. He does not want any one of us to experience never-ending, everlasting judgment that is due our sin. God has come to us in the person of Jesus Who has paid the price for sin by dying on a cross.

He’s also risen from the grave In victory over death, so that anyone, anywhere who repents—turns from their sin, their selves and every attempt to save themselves, who believes and trusts in the good news of God’s love for us in Jesus—will be forgiven of all their sin and restored to relationship with God for all of eternity. This is not my message; this is God’s message. We invite you on His behalf to believe it today. Repent and believe in the gospel.

Then, for every follower of Jesus, this is the message Jesus has given us to tell people throughout the city over the next two weeks: repent and believe in the gospel. People’s lives for all of eternity are dependent on hearing and believing this message.

This leads us back to verse 11. This picture of shaking the dust off our feet if people don’t listen to you is basically a symbolic gesture to indicate that somebody, or a group of people, or even a town, had rejected Jesus’ call to repent. The picture is that once Jesus’ disciples had done their part and called people to repent, then they could not control how those people would respond. If people rejected the gospel, Jesus said, “You’ve done your responsibility. How they respond is their responsibility.”

This is a similar picture to what we see in Ezekiel 33 where God says, “Imagine you’re a watchman on a wall and you see danger coming. As long as you blow the trumpet and sound the warning to those inside the walls, the people can respond. If they don’t respond and they’re harmed or killed, you warned them, so their blood is on their hands.” But if you’re that watchman, you see danger coming, and you don’t blow the trumpet, you don’t sound the warning, and the people are harmed or killed, then God says, “The blood of those people is on your hands.”

So get the picture, Christian brother or sister, because it’s sobering. There are five million plus individuals in this city right now, many of whom we will interact with this week, for whom eternal danger is coming at any moment. You and I know this. God has told us this. Sure, we can’t control how people will respond to the gospel, but do you know what we can control? Whether or not people hear this gospel. Whether or not the people you go to school with or work with or meet this week, whether or not the people around us over the next two weeks, hear the good news of God’s love and the warning of God’s judgment. We can control that.

So the question is: will they hear this good news or warning from us, or are we going to be silent over the next two weeks, with everlasting danger heading their way, but we’re saying nothing? God help us not to be silent. God help us to call people to repent, no matter how unpopular that may be, no matter what that means for your reputation. What is more important to you and me: our comfort and reputation or the eternal souls of individual people?

4. Let’s care for people in need.

That leads to the fourth word of encouragement for us on this mission trip: let’s care for people in need.

12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

There’s so much we could talk about here regarding casting out demons and evil spirits, regarding healing the sick, but I don’t want you to miss the big picture. Jesus was clearly calling His followers to go to people in need and care for them. The picture of anointing the sick with oil is only mentioned one other place in the New Testament. In James 5 the oil was a symbol of the presence and grace of God. It is a beautiful picture. Jesus is saying, “Go to people in need and care for them in such a way that they see My presence is with them and My grace is for them.”

What a perspective on our city over the next couple weeks. Let’s see below the surface. Let’s put aside our narrow focus on all the stuff we’ve got to get done each day, the busyness of our lives. Let’s intentionally ask, “Who is hurting around me? How can I help them in such a way that they see in me that God is with them and God is for them?”

What a mission we’ve been given. What an honor to be on mission for Jesus, to be sent out in Jesus’ name, with His provision, to share His message, to show His love. What else do you have to do with your life over the next two weeks that is better than that?

This is life. God is calling us to life. Not to a miserable two weeks. I hardly know anybody who has gone on a mission trip, then walks away saying, “That was miserable.” No. It’s like, “That’s awesome!”

This is the way we’re created to live. Do you see it? Step out of the mundane casual cultural Christianity. That’s not what you were made for. You were made for mission.

So, before I give you the fifth word of encouragement, I want us to think together about our plan over the next two weeks here in this city. You don’t go on a mission trip without a plan for how you’re going to spend your time. So I want to give you a few minutes before we close to at least think about this. I would encourage you, to the extent possible, to write this down. So for the next couple minutes, whether with pen and paper or on a device, write down answers to three questions. This is our strategy meeting before we go out on the mission trip.

  1. Who? Think intentionally right now about who in your sphere of influence you can call this week or next week to repent and believe in the gospel? Obviously we want to be open to conversations God will open up with people we don’t know, like my Uber driver. But I’m guessing we all have people we already know who don’t know Jesus. If a lot of names don’t come to mind, you are probably hanging out with Christians too much. So write down who you will interact with, or could interact with, over the next two weeks who doesn’t know Jesus.
  2. How? Then think, “How am I going to care for them and how am I going to call them to repent and believe in the gospel?” It’s both-and. The best way you can care for them is to lead them to eternal life. How are you going to care and then call them to repent and believe in the good news of God’s love for them? So think through a plan. Maybe it’s getting together with them for a meal, or coffee or something else. Maybe it’s an email or a letter you can send. Maybe it’s inviting them to church next week, then going to lunch after that. There are so many different ways this could play out. How are you going to sound the warning and share the good news of God’s love in Jesus over the next two weeks with at least one of the people under that “who” question?
  3. When? Then think about when, knowing there is an adversary who is just fine with you hearing this, then doing nothing for days and retreating into casual-comfortable-cultural Christianity, until you’ve forgotten all about this. This actually contributes to the hardening of your heart because you’re just used to hearing the Word and not doing it. Don’t let your adversary do that. Think and plan intentionally. When are you going to reach out in love to at least one of these people with the gospel?

If you’re not a follower of Jesus, you’re sitting here thinking, “Whoa. I’m feeling like you’re targeting people who are not followers of Jesus with this intentionality.” I would just say this. Imagine for a moment that this is true, that you’re separated from God your Creator by sin and if nothing changes you’re going to spend eternity in judgment. Wouldn’t you want somebody to be really intentional to share the good news of how you can be restored to a relationship with God for eternity? If that were true, you would not want people sitting back silent in casual-comfortable-cultural Christianity.

I want to give you just a couple minutes before I give you the last word of encouragement, before we start this mission trip, to write down some of your thoughts. I’m going to do the same up here. For the next couple minutes, just between each of us and God, let’s think together through who, how and when. Just spend a couple moments, right where you are, before we scatter, before I even give you this last word of encouragement. Then I’ll bring us back together. So spend a couple minutes doing that right now before God, answering who, how and when.

All right. Feel free to keep writing and thinking along these lines. Don’t let me stop you by any means. But I do want to give this last word of encouragement before we start this mission trip. So let’s go in Jesus’ name, with His authority and His Spirit in us, trusting in His provision, stepping out in faith and calling people to repent and believe in the gospel, as we care for people in need.

5. Let’s share what God does.

Then finally, let’s share and encourage one another with what God does. So two Sundays from now, Lord willing, we’ll look at Mark 6:30, when these disciples come back and encourage each other as they share all that has happened on their trip. This is always one of the best parts of a mission trip, because you get to see and hear about what Jesus has done in other people’s lives, through their lives, in your own life and through your life together.

I’ve been part of this. It’s obviously a bit challenging in light of a large group like this over multiple locations. Though I would encourage you, during your church groups over the next couple weeks, to share along these lines. Share stories of what God does as we’re on this mission trip together. At the same time, I want to provide an outlet to share with each other across the church. So  here’s an email address for you: [email protected]. Sometime over the next two weeks, send an email to this address telling anything you’ve seen God do in you or through you. Feel free to send multiple emails, but start with just one. Let me be clear, this doesn’t have to be an amazing story, like, “I was sharing the gospel, this person had tears flowing down, he fell on his faces and started crying out to Jesus, then ten others came around and did the same thing. It was awesome.” If that happens, by all means share that story.

At that same time, also share stories like, “I stepped out. I did it. I spoke the gospel, or at least I tried to. I kind of fumbled through the whole thing, then at the end they were like, ‘I don’t want anything to do with that,’ and they walked away.” Share that one too. Because it’s likely that there are a variety of others who’ve experienced that same thing as well. If you hear everybody’s awesome story and you’re like, “I’ve only got a lame story,” then you could get discouraged.

Mark 6:7–13 Reminds Us of the Meaning Behind Mission Trips

The whole point is not even ultimately how people respond. The whole point is that we are responding to Jesus and doing what He is calling us to do. We can trust Him with the fruit of this. So maybe you get the gospel thrown right back in your face this week or next week, but how many of you, in your personal faith stories, did that to somebody else? Some of you did that for years. But the seed had been planted in your heart that bore fruit one day, and praise God for the first person who shared with you anyway.

So let’s do this, then share your stories. Whatever it is, share your story. I’m asking teenagers, adults, kids—you may not have an email address, so have one of your parents send in an email for you. Let’s fill up this inbox with stories over the course of this two-week mission trip, Then Lord willing, I’ll share some of them in a way that encourages each of us. I promise not to use your name, unless I get permission from you first. You don’t have to be concerned if you send something in that it’s automatically going to be read with your picture up on the screen. “This guy failed and this guy…” No, that’s the whole point. You didn’t fail; you spoke up. Even with an awesome story, it could miss the point. This is all about Jesus’ message with Jesus’ authority for Jesus’ glory. So that’s how I want you to share your stories.

All right. Welcome to the Metro DC 2022 Spring Break Mission Trip. You signed up for this. I love it. Some of you are clapping. Some of you are like, “Ah, I guess I should.” And some of you students are like, “It’s not spring break. I wish it was spring break, but school’s not out.” That’s kind of the point: we’re on mission in our schools, where we work, right where God has put us. Let’s spend these two weeks on a mission trip and let’s see what God does.

Will you bow your heads with me?

God, I am so thankful for this gospel to share. We’re so thankful for the people who shared the gospel with us, so that we might know You and have eternal life with You. We praise You for the gospel. We praise You for saving us from our sin and filling us with Your Spirit.

God, I just speak Acts 1:8 over all of Your people in this gathering right now. You have filled us with Your Holy Spirit’s power so we can be witnesses. You’ve invited us to step out in faith on mission with You. So we say together, “Yes. We want to step out in faith.” Help us. We need Your help. We confess we’re not the sharpest tools in the shed. That’s the point. We trust that when we’re weak, You’re strong. That when we’re timid, You’re powerful. That wen we don’t know what to say, You give us the words to say. May it be so. We’re trusting You to provide, as we go out over the next couple weeks, and we pray, God, do that which can only be explained by Your hand, in and through our lives. God, we ask for people that You’ve put on our minds and in our hearts. We pray that some of them, many of them, would come to know eternal life in Jesus this week. We know this is a supernatural miracle that only You can bring about.

We pray that as we go out as Your representatives, that You would bring a miracle of new life. Even when we don’t see that happen in front of our eyes, we pray that we would experience the joy of obedience to You. Make us the church You desire for us to be, not the church we have in our minds and that we’re so tempted to create in our day Make us followers of Jesus on mission for Your glory. May it be so, in Jesus’ name. And all God’s people said, “Amen.”

How can we apply this passage to our lives?

  1. How would you feel if you were told not to take many “things” on an upcoming mission trip that required travel? Discuss as a group.
  2. Are there areas where, like the apostles, we should take a bold step of faith depending on God’s provision for our ministry needs?
  3. How might serving or ministering as a team (of two, or even as a Church Group) encourage us towards more faithful proclamation of the Gospel? Are there ways we, as a Church Group family, could serve as a team of Gospel proclaimers? 
  4. Finally, how can our group members hold each other accountable to our commitments?
David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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