Missional Children: Kingdom Dream vs. American Dream (Part 2)

Matthew 28:19 (ESV)

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

This past October I had the privilege of going on a short-term mission trip with my 7 year old son, we worked with un-reached people groups in S.E. Asia. Over the next few weeks, I want to share 3 reasons why exposing our children to missions early is of great value. If you missed Part 1 click here.

2. It changes their perspective on materialism. For much of the world’s population, the standard of living is considerably lower than the poorest person in the U.S. This is a very real truth in SE Asia. Everywhere we went, people were living in makeshift housing, near open sewage, rotting trash, and had no access to clean water. However, when encountering people, especially Christians, you realize that materialism does not consume them; not to say it wouldn’t be a struggle if their country was wealthy, but since it does not exist, it does not define the culture. It is incredibly eyeopening to see others live without many of the things we think are necessities.

Affluence and materialism are such a dominate force in U.S. culture that young people have little hope of trading in the American Dream for the Kingdom Dream, unless there is intentional intervention. The reality for most Americans families is that we live for worldly success and meaning. This in turn results in what I call, “The Law of Unintended Consequences.” We unintentionally raise up children who are worldly, selfish, and worship the god of materialism, because of the lifestyle we model and live. I have never met a family who said their goal was to raise up “worldly” and “selfish” children, but it happens all the same. Participating in a short term mission trip to an impoverished culture, brings worldly success and kingdom success into perspective. It brings clarity to the eternal and temporal.

I honestly believe that through missional living, my children are learning and seeing that success is not about materialism, but about relationships and mission. Just a few weeks ago, Isaac was consciously aware that he had more than he needed when asking for something. The conversation when like this,

“Dad, Makanoti (Africa) and Ariel (Honduras), don’t have these things do they? No son they do not. I need to be more thankful for what I have, don’t I? Yes son you do.”

The conversation was much longer and I was able to have some very valuable teaching time about the gospel and what was important in life; but what was powerful was that Isaac was able to filter his “wants” through a biblical worldview filter shaped by short term missions. He recognized he really had all he needed. This doesn’t mean my children will not struggle with wants and materialism, but it does reveal how they look at materialism (stuff) has been shaped by short term missions and missional living.

Practical Application: 

Here are some practical steps and ideas for fundraising for a short term mission trip:

1. Open a “Mission Trip” bank account. Make depositing money into this account a habit. Depositing $100/month will give you at least half, if not more, the cost of a short term trip at the end of one year.

2. Combine forces with others team members and have joint activities, i.e. car wash, yard sale, fundraising meal/auction.

3. Spearhead your own search to find extra jobs letting people know that you are doing it to raise money for a short-term mission trip, such as babysitting, cleaning houses, or yard work. I had a young girl pay for a $3000 trip by babysitting, selling cookies, and painting murals. Be creative and don’t wait until the last minute.

4. Prepare a Support Letter. Click on this link for a sample support letter.

stay tuned for Part 3……


About George Ross

I am a pastor, church planter, husband, and father of four.
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