I won’t be surprised if someone says to us one day, “Wait a second, you guys don’t really mobilize mission trips at all!” Unknowingly, they’ve just put their finger on exactly what distinguishes 127 Worldwide from other traditional "sending" organizations.
Consider for a moment the type of short term mission trips you’ve come into contact with in the past. I’ve traveled around the world many times on 2-week stints, and I always emphasized to my supporters the direct role I would play on the mission field. A string of active verbs knit my story to the stories of the least of these. I evangelized, I built, I distributed. The photographs from my trips reinforced this point. You’d see me giving food to the hungry, painting a schoolhouse, and sharing the gospel. This philosophy of short term mission trippers who directly care for the vulnerable and reach out to the lost has its own strengths and weaknesses, just like every other method. We explore some common objections to short term missions elsewhere. Suffice to say, this model hinges on our direct, measurable impact.
A Partnership Framework
127 has a different model. It might be terrible math, but we think that we can actually accomplish more for the vulnerable by doing less for them directly. Faithful Christians have labored in their contexts long before our team arrives, and we want to aid that gospel work in ways that help without hindering the mission already happening. We champion local solutions to local problems, so we don’t show up with the intent to accomplish ministry ourselves so much as to encourage, equip, and empower those already hard at work. 127 GO Teams channel care to the caretakers, and in doing so, our investment continues to impact the lives of vulnerable people long after our visit.
We champion local solutions to local problems,
so we don’t show up with the intent to accomplish
ministry ourselves so much as to encourage, equip,
and empower those already hard at work.
Because our partners live in the community, know its needs intimately, and are actively engaged in ongoing projects to empower the vulnerable, we funnel our resources and energy into encouraging them. We don’t strike out on our own mission to save the world. We join the work that God has already begun, which means ultimately our ministry is one of presence and not intervention. By traveling around the world, we communicate to local leaders that the global church rallies behind them in the good deeds that God has called them to. Our care may be indirect, but we believe it’s the most powerful role we can play.
If our partners are the leading actors in God’s drama in the places they live, 127 GO Teams are the stage hands. We’ll never star in the play, and no one will stay to see our names in the credits. But East Africa and Guatemala were never meant to be our stage anyway. The Director cast our partners there and us halfway around the world, all armed with his script. He’s written every scene, and he orchestrates its performance through his people.
And that’s where our part comes in. We jump in to refresh the actors he’s cast on this stage, spurring on the gospel work they do day in and day out. In a way, then, we do serve directly. It’s just targeted at local leaders rather than vulnerable communities. As believers ministering to other believers, we act as the global church united around God’s mission of restoring hope to all of creation as it plays out on the big screen. We eagerly await the day when all will acknowledge his work, every knee bowing and tongue confessing that he has done it.