Missions AS Discipleship

Throughout my years of following Jesus, there has been one constant that has proven invaluable as it relates to mine and others’ discipleship … Short-Term Missions.

I must admit, that like some do today, I used to see mission trips as projects to be accomplished. Too many times, I would go on a mission trip and come home and think in my head … “Great, I’ve done that, what’s next.” However, discipleship is not a check-list or to-do or not to-do list.

Yeah, there were changes made by me and some changes even within me because of the mission trips I was apart of. But, the problem with this approach is that it is all about “doing” instead of “being” a follower of Jesus.

Jesus said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” Missions AS Discipleship is learning how to follow Jesus. If Jesus could not do or say anything unless the Father directed Him as He says (John 5:19ff), then neither can we. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing (of any eternal worth for God’s Kingdom – John 15). Oh, we can do a bunch of activities but why do we presume that our ideas of what to do is accomplishing the plans and purposes of God?

I am learning that if He is the Vine and I am the Branch, then I have no life within me in and of myself. My life is a result of His Life flowing in me as I stay connected to the Vine. This is the essence of Missions AS Discpleship.

Something clicked within me spiritually about twelve years ago while I was on a mission trip to Mexico. None of our plans were having success. Our Project Leader led us to stop and pray. He said, “Let’s ASK THE LORD”. The result of this approach was monumental that day and is still forming me today. “ASK THE LORD” has become a way of life … Discipleship.

Missions AS Discipleship is all about learning how to hear the voice of the LORD and following the leadership of the Holy Spirit. This is what is meant by …

“Follow Me … Reach Our World”

The key to the phrase above is the … between Follow Me and Reach Our World. All of Jesus’ “doing” was a result of spending time with the Father in prayer, first.

When you see Missions AS Discipleship, God uses the avenue or arena of a mission trip as a boot camp for the rest of your life. I want to challenge you to see Missions AS Discipleship. Watch God impact your world and use you to impact the world as you become His hands and feet. 
Lanny Richardson is a mobilization representative for Adventures in Missions, you can read more about his ministry on his

blog at lannyrichardson.adventures.org