Christian Sightseeing is Not Missions

I’ve still been processing Sunday’s message and praying for the next step concerning our church’s involvement in the Great Commission.  Since we are studying missions this week, I have something that God has really been teaching me over the last year: Christian sightseeing is not missions!

Let me explain.  I think over the years, we have watered down missions so much that we classify doing anything that is overseas or with people of a different race as missions.  If you look at many job descriptions of mission trips these days, you will unfortunately see watered down weeks that ask Christians to do simple tasks in order that there is minimal exposure to the gospel.  Rarely do I see job descriptions that say, “Come and bring your church’s best evangelists to share the gospel.”  It is pass out this, pray for that, play with this, love on that – but we seem it extreme simply to share the gospel.

I think sometimes we get caught up in traveling the world in the name of Jesus rather than the Great Commission.

I came up with a test to see if we have God’s heart for the nations or if we have a traveler’s spirit.  Here are the top 10 signs you may be engaging in Christian sightseeing:

  1. Christian sightseeing takes more pictures of the children than shares the gospel with the children.
  2. Christian sightseeing spends more money on traveling “necessary” gear than sharing with the poor.
  3. Christian sightseeing values having more people on this year’s trip than last year’s.
  4. Christian sightseeing desires to go back to certain places due to familiarity rather than where the greatest need exists.
  5. Christian sightseeing takes people on trips so that maybe this will “be the trip” that gets them really serious about Jesus.
  6. Christian sightseeing sees the big win of the trip to have a picture of you hugging and smiling with a less fortunate person or child.
  7. Christian sightseeing brings more stories home about your travels than your gospel encounters.
  8. Christian sightseeing is more concerned with the quantity of countries visited than the level of gospel saturation in one place.
  9. Christian sightseeing must include at least one day during the trip to shop and/or to see local attractions because God forbid we would be relentless all week with the gospel.
  10. Christian sightseeing makes you feel better after your trip rather than coming home even more burdened than when you left.

I pray that the Church of Jesus Christ will get out of the traveling business and into the gospel business.  Lord, break our hearts.

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.

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5 Comments

  1. Contessa 'Turner' Wright

    "I think sometimes we get caught up in traveling the world in the name of Jesus rather than the Great Commission." This quote from your post really hit me. It is so true! I have heard someone ask "so what country are you going to this year?" I think so many times we get caught up in visiting new places and learning new cultures than actually going to spread the Gospel and showing His

  2. Contessa 'Turner' Wright

    "I think sometimes we get caught up in traveling the world in the name of Jesus rather than the Great Commission." This quote from your post really hit me. It is so true! I have heard someone ask "so what country are you going to this year?" I think so many times we get caught up in visiting new places and learning new cultures than actually going to spread the Gospel and showing His love.

  3. David Cobb

    I agree. we must get in there and work side by side with those we are ministering to. Then we can somewhat understand their day to day life. Thanks for reminding me of

  4. David Cobb

    I agree. we must get in there and work side by side with those we are ministering to. Then we can somewhat understand their day to day life. Thanks for reminding me of that.

  5. Regina Jones

    This article is so relevant. I have done several short term mission trips to Mexico and Africa. My first trip to Zimbabwe ended with me feeling so terribly burdened afterwards that I couldn’t walk away. A few months later I returned as a full time missionary and have been here for almost 7 years. The points you made in this article are so real and relevant. They were true of my first trips and of the many trips I have lead over the years. Thank you for sharing this and may it convict all of us who travel in the name of Jesus… May we share the Gospel with more people than we snap photos of!

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