So you’re going on/thinking about going on/have gone on a Baylor Missions trip. You may have some preconceived ideas about mission trips—there has certainly been some criticism of them in recent years, and for good reason. Robert Lupton says in Toxic Charity, “Contrary to popular belief, most missions trips and service projects do not: empower those being served, engender healthy cross-cultural relationships, improve quality of life, relieve poverty, change the lives of participants [or] increase support for long-term missions work.” These seem like harsh words, but unfortunately they speak to a reality. Baylor Missions is aware of this reality, but it doesn’t drive us to drop trips altogether—just the opposite! Why?
At Baylor Missions, we believe mission trips can be beneficial to all parties when done well. Baylor Missions’ leadership has thought carefully and critically about mission trips by using five guiding principles:
- Discipline-Specific Missions
- Global Partners
- Long-Term Commitment
Although these terms may seem abstract right now, we’re going to unpack them for you in this blog series! We’ll be giving you concrete examples and stories of how our faculty and staff team leaders have seen these guiding principles implemented in the teams they lead domestically and all around the globe. While each team leader will focus primarily on only one aspect of the five, you will find that their experiences have crossover into the other guiding principles. That’s because integration of the five principles is what makes Baylor Missions, Baylor Missions. Holly Tate, Assistant Director for Missions, put it this way: “Each of the stories you’ll read in this series from our leaders reflects how and why they have seen value in the various guiding principles and ultimately how they all work together to create a transformational experience for Baylor students.” We’re excited to share these stories and give you a better understanding of the thought put into each team Baylor Missions sends out.
So, what you should know if you are going on a Baylor Missions trip is that it might not be what you initially expect when you hear the term “missions trip.” Through our model of missions, the goal is that the trips would be an opportunity for you to be transformed while using and developing your skills in order to serve Christ around the world in your future vocation.