I have never had issues with my eyesight. Well, until recently. As I am now fully into my mid-40s, I am noticing that my vision is becoming a bit blurry. Distances are not quite as clear as they once were. I have yet to do anything about this new middle-age challenge. Perhaps I should go to the eye doctor. If I do, the doctor might prescribe me glasses, which would affirm my lack of clear vision.
Seeing clearly is important. As Jesus traveled through cities and villages he saw people, and he felt compassion for them because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). How sad it would be for us to see and yet not see the needs of people all around us. Because Jesus saw the people (Matt 9:36a), he felt compassion for them.
In other words, Jesus seeing people first led him to have compassion. Compassion has been defined as sympathetic pity for the distress of others with the desire to alleviate it (Merriam-Webster). Believers cannot look on the hopelessness of others and not be moved—moved not only with compassion, but with the desire to bring hope.
The Missions Mobilization Team of the Kentucky Baptist Convention exists to mobilize KBC churches for gospel impact. We might say, to mobilize KBC churches to bring hope. One of the ways we desire to help KBC churches see clearly is providing vision trips to various North American and international partnerships. These vision trips are designed to expose KBC churches to the hopeless peoples and places throughout the world.
By seeing it, touching it, tasting it, hearing it and overall experiencing it, our prayer is that KBC churches will see the people, feel compassion for them, and do something gospel-centered to bring hope. Making the most of a church’s time on a vision trip is crucial.
Be prayerful—With Paul, pray always. Be in prayer as you travel from point A to point B. Pray as you walk and talk. Pray as you hear from planters or missionaries. Pray as you return to your room. The point…pray! Ask the Lord to lead you in how He would have you partner in this place.
Be flexible—the time is short and filled with much to see and hear and experience. Be prepared to spend long days with potentially shifting schedules.
Be attentive—take careful notes both on paper and in your head of planters/missionaries, stories, and situations that stand out to you. What might speak to you now might be forgotten if you do not write it down and make note of why it impacted you. Be observant of the area you are in (what is the community like, the people, the needs, etc.). Take whatever notes necessary, so that you can make a prayerfully discerning decision about partnerships later with your leadership team.
Be interactive—this vision is meant to be an experience, not simply an informational dump load. When able, talk with the planters/missionaries about the city, the needs, ways to be involved. The point is to be engaged in the vision trip.
Be willing—to partner as the Lord leads you. As David Platt suggests, bring a blank check (of your life) to the table and ask the Lord to fill in the amount.
So, do you have a clear vision for missions? Learn more about KBC vision trips and partnerships at www.kybaptist.org/vision.