The seven principles are: Missions is a Lifestyle, Observation Before Interpretation, Church Matters, Cultures are Beautiful and Broken, Do Things With not For People, God is Already Working, and Poverty is Everywhere. These principles taught me important lessons about how I should approach mission trips, how to understand other cultures better and how I should view missions on a daily basis.
1. God is Already Working.
I had no idea what to expect on the Engage trip to Northern Ireland, but I was assuming I’d see a broken country and that everyone I encountered would to need to know Jesus. God quickly taught me about missions and how He was already working in the hearts of people in Northern Ireland long before I was there. God has placed specific missionaries there and other teenagers who are on fire for Jesus. Our team was there to come alongside and partner with these amazing people who are already serving Jesus and sharing the Gospel.
2. Cultures are Beautiful and Broken.
Northern Ireland has so much beauty. I encountered so many loving and generous people, the landscape, the Church history – all of it was so beautiful. But I learned how the culture was broken due to the history of violence and division between Protestants and Catholics. The religious divide still exists today, and the literal walls of separation – called “Peace Walls” – are still in existence in Belfast. There is gang graffiti and other kinds of government issues that create conflict within the country today. This mission principle that combines beauty with brokenness is one that resonated in my heart and opened my eyes to our own beauty and brokenness in the U.S.
3. Missions is a Lifestyle.
God taught me so much about how missions is not just about the trip itself, but it’s how we should live our everyday lives. The trip to Northern Ireland taught me that we should not only be preaching the Gospel in other countries and serving there, but how we should also be doing this in our own hometowns. Once I came home from the trip, my friends and I started a worship night every Sunday night. A year later it has grown from 10 to close to 75 people attending every week. God taught me that we should be living out the principle that Missions is a Lifestyle, no matter where we are.