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Christian Travel Is More Than A Mission Trip

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

When we hear the term "Christian Travel," our minds often drift towards mission trips, service projects, or youth groups embarking on adventures. These experiences hold immense value in our Christian journey, but do they fully represent the depth of what Christian travel is? What if we ventured beyond the confines of mission trips and discovered the richness of Christian journeys in other areas of life?

Exploring the Concept of Christian Travel

Our exploration begins with a fundamental question: What is Christian travel?

In Deuteronomy 6, we are commanded to talk about God's commands in all situations.

talk about [God's] commands when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

This directive is a call for continual conversation with the Lord in every facet of our lives. We are to be talking about our faith in all of our travels.

Christian Travel is, therefore, any time a believer journeys from one place to another with intentional connection & conversation with the Lord. It goes beyond traditional mission trips, extending its embrace to everyday excursions, weekend getaways, international adventures, and even mundane trips to the grocery store. Our faith is not limited to the church pews, and neither should our travels be!

A Day Realigned

When it comes to living out our daily adventures as part of our Christian journey, the first place to start is by talking with the Lord. Before buzzing through your to do list and moving through your daily routine with memorization - it's time to ask God if those are His plans. He might have something more important for you to prioritize, where it's a conversation that needs to be had - or a dream that needs to be heart-checked. And this will impact where you go and how you travel about your day.

Prayer In Everyday Travels

Have you ever prayed for safe travels on the way to the grocery store? Most of us rush off without giving it a second thought, but God calls us to keep our minds trained on Him. Simply by dialoguing with our King, it changes our attitudes about who we meet in that space and tunes our awareness to what God is already doing around us.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

Vacations With God As The Navigator

Imagine sharing your vacation plans with the Creator and asking for His guidance. Surrendering the reins to God allows Him to lead you towards unexpected blessings, witnessing opportunities, and a greater understanding of Him. It will enrich your travels in unimaginable ways.

Group Adventures

Whether you're organizing a get-together with friends at a pumpkin patch, going sledding, or getting drinks - take a moment to pray that participants will walk away with a deeper relationship with God. (Your group doesn't have to be believers, to be praying for them!) Christian travel is about fostering a space where it is safe to ask questions about faith, enriching not only your life but the lives of others who accompany you.

a Christian businessman in airport

Traditional Views Of Christian Travel

Now that we have established that Christian Travel is a way of living and traveling with God at the center, let's take a closer look at some of the more traditional views of Christian Travel. It is crucial to recognize that God is at work in these areas, but often it is too narrow of a focus and can limit the value of our other journeys.

Mission Trips and Service Projects

When people hear the term "Christian travel," mission trips often spring to mind. While mission trips are one of the ways that God works through travel, they only represent a small fraction of Christian travel. And in many cases, mission trips have come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years. Some question whether they are effective for the communities they are going to serve or if they are a Westernized version of a vacation. Some of the concerns that people have are:

  • For many teens and adults mission trips have become a "right of passage" in their faith walk, meaning that countless people have been sent on these trips without regard to whether there is a need to go or if the person is spiritually ready.

  • Some organizations claim that they can help send you on mission trips, but their itinerary is more focused on sightseeing and leisure than on service, faith, and ministry.

  • By only spending a few weeks at a location, the long-term impact of the native ministry isn't really set up to succeed. And in worse scenarios, groups come in without seeking to understand the local ministry or partner with them causing more harm than good.

At the same time, many mission trips are incredibly impactful. They do a great job of seeking the Lord, discerning His heart, and partnering with local ministries rather than trying to take over. Some examples of how this plays out include:

  • Congregations that return to the same location over numerous years, seeking to build long-term connections with a local ministry. Often this means, that thanks to technology they continue to communicate throughout the year, sharing ways they can support one another.

  • Individuals looking to serve, find ways that extend the vocation God has given them - to help identified needs. For instance, a teacher who helps train local teachers with new educational tools. Or a teen, with a passion for art, who helps students design a booklet that tells the Gospel story in their own language.

  • Groups that really focus on partnering with what God is already doing in an area and building relationships.

Youth Group Trips

Many Christian conferences, workshops, and retreats have made huge impacts on countless lives. They certainly can be a way to grow closer to God and your peers, but if we limit Christian travel to these kinds of trips we miss out on other ways that God is at work.

Some things to consider:

  • If these events are the definition of how God wants us to travel, then what happens when we return home or travel elsewhere?

  • Is travel solely about gathering with other believers, or does God work through times when we gather a mix of people and for reasons that aren't abundantly Christ-focused?

Christian Concerts

Christian concerts are a wonderful time to come together with other believers for music and worship. God can change hearts through worship, but if traveling to a concert for this hyped experience is the definition of Christian travel, it's rather limiting isn't it?

  • Is worship limited to the times we are in concerts seats, or is it something our heart can do at any time and anywhere?

  • Can travel have that same hype, as you watch a sunset or celebrate a stranger?

Modern View of Christian Travel

While you may still find your soul refreshed through Christian Concerts, Youth Group trips, Mission Trips, and Service Projects - how you travel every day more directly reflects how you understand God to be at work.

Grocery Shopping & Everyday Errands

Christian travel extends to mundane activities such as grocery shopping. It enables people to be aware of God in their daily lives. It's critical to appreciate the breadth and complexity of Christian travel experiences, which means even the most mundane journeys can lead to amazing experiences of connection with God. Here are some ways to put this into practice:

  • Ask God to make you aware of the people who may cross your path and how you can respond. A simple compliment can go a long way. Or God may give you the opportunity to share your own testimony.

  • Give thanks for blessings. It is scientifically proven that our brains physically change when we give thanks - which I believe is a testimony to God. While the grocery store might not be as pretty as a sunset, there are still things we can praise God for while we run our errands.

Business Travel

Many people consider business trips as burdensome and stressful, often disconnected from their faith. However, with a shift in perspective, you can turn your business travels into opportunities for spiritual growth.

  • Cover your business interactions in prayer, seeking ways to recognize God's care amid business interactions.

  • Set aside time for being in God's Word and worship. Just because you are away from home, doesn't mean that you have to leave your faith at home.

Leisure Travel

Christian travel extends to every corner of our lives, including leisure travel. When you embark on a vacation to explore new destinations, relax on a beach, or visit a cultural heritage site, you are a Christian who is traveling for God. The key is to see your leisure travel as an opportunity for growth. Some ways you can do that, include:

  • As you witness the beauty of God's creation in the world's natural wonders, majestic landscapes, and diverse cultures, take a moment to reflect on the Creator's handiwork.

  • Get to know the locals! By stepping into hole in the wall restaurants or going to the grocery store where locals shop, you have the opportunity to build a connection and be a witness!

The fundamental principle of Christian travel is conversation and connection with God. That's why He instructs us talk about him in everything we do (Deuteronomy 6.)

That's why Christian Travelers' Network does travel differently. Our goal is to help Christian travelers connect with the Lord and with other believers, wherever their adventures take them - so that, you can be encouraged and pointed back to the King in all of your travels.

For a more profound understanding of "Why God Calls Us To Travel," we encourage you to listen to episode 3 of our podcast, where we unravel the divine significance of Christian travel.

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