If you are reading this, you probably feel overwhelmed by the amount of invitations you have received to events that say something along the lines of, “Help send _______ to _____ this summer!”
Every year, you witness the reality of KCM’s Short Term Summer Missions (STSM) by the flood of fundraising event invites and support letters. You start seeing photos of teams; suddenly that subtle yet very real feeling of FOMO creeps in for those who are not included in the well publicized and “elite” group of goers for that year.
If you find yourself in this group, I want to empathize with you and share that I’ve been in that same position. No matter what we are taught or what we know in our heads, we can’t help but feel like goers are like the “Navy Seals” Christians and those who stay behind are just “foot soldiers.” Sure, we may hear that if we can’t go, we can be senders but for whatever reason, being a sender just doesn’t seem as cool or “lit.”
To that general sentiment, I want to provide some encouragements and exhortations on why sending is important and how you can send well as collegians if you are not going this summer.
- Sending sanctifies your motives
Matthew 6 suggests that all of us have a natural desire to be recognized by people for the things that we do for God. However, I would argue from personal experience that supporting goers through finances and prayer is very much something that is done in secret. Your efforts aren’t blasted on Facebook and you won’t have that picture with an unreached people group while holding a cute little baby that receives 200+ likes. However, as Matthew 6:4 says, your Father who sees in secret has his eyes wide open when no one else is looking. Sending trains you to value and prioritize God’s pleasure over man’s.
- Sending teaches you stewardship
One very important lesson that collegians need to learn early on is that God owns our money. I can’t help but observe that a lot of collegians these days have a very tight grip on their possessions and finances. However, 1 Corinthians 4:7 teaches us, “what do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” Sending trains your habits and your hearts to grasp the reality that we are not owners but stewards over our possessions.
- Send like how you would want to be sent
If you were going, what would make you feel supported and cared for? That’s the primary question you should ask as you consider how to send and support your peers well this summer. You will be surprised to realize that it doesn’t take much. A simple note, a text letting them know that you are praying for them, or even an emoticon of encouragement on the day of their departure goes a long way. Remember, sending isn’t simply a one-time monetary deposit. It’s an investment into the journey of the person before they go, while they are gone, and when they return.
- Most of you will be senders
The reality is that the majority of you will be called to obey the Great Commission by developing a lifestyle of sending faithfully. Fight the temptation to fool yourself into thinking that you will do it later. If you won’t give $5, you won’t give $50. The earlier godly habits are developed, the better.
- Sending should be costly
Sending that comes at a cost to you proves the worth and value of what you are sacrificing for. Jesus marveled at the widow’s offering, not because of the amount (it was less than a penny) but because it came at a great cost to her (it was all she had to live on). God doesn’t measure the success of your sending based on how much you give but ultimately how much it costs you. What this means is that you don’t need to concern yourself on the giving of your peers. Just be faithful with your respective resources and means to give in a manner that stirs your heart to count the cost.
- Practical ideas for sending well:
– Start setting aside money now that you want to use to support those who are going (Ex: Forego eating out once or twice a week or indulging in that boba or that cute Forever 21 shirt that will go out of style by fall and save it intentionally to send)
– Regularly ask those who are going if they have any prayer requests and let them know that you are there to support and pray for them
– Keep those who are going accountable to their mission and help them to fight distractions and temptations that Satan will undoubtedly bring upon them
– Forego your usual stylish fashion and buy STSM fundraiser attire instead of your normal Nike hat or Madewell shirt
– Push those who are having a hard time raising funds to not be discouraged and help them come up with creative ideas to fundraise (Ex: help them clean apartments for venmo donations or collect loose change from people)
– Buy them some basic necessities they will need overseas, take a picture of it, and add #sending (but read point #1 first and check your heart and pray to make sure you aren’t doing it for the praise of man)
– Immediately schedule a time to meet up with people when they return to hear about their trip and help them debrief and solidify it in their own hearts as they share with you
– Continually strive to think of ideas to send well in a manner that would help goers be thankful for you
By no means is this list meant to be authoritative or exhaustive. I just wanted to show that sending doesn’t have to be just giving money. I think it would be awesome to see KCM develop an increasingly sacrificial and healthy culture of faithful senders who see it as an honor and privilege to support those who are going by any means possible. Goers cannot go unless they are sent. So for those who aren’t going, let’s “Help send _______ to _______!”