My freshman year of college I went on my first mission trip. My biggest problem? I didn't (still don't) feel gifted in evangelism.
When Evangelism is not your gift.
While we all are called to make disciples and to be prepared to explain to someone why we have hope in Jesus, God has given some a gift, or a grace, for evangelism (see Ephesians 4:11). Over our trip it became painfully obvious to me that I was not one of these people. But there I was, with hundreds of other college students who gave me the impression that they were.
Though I’d definitely say the trip was a positive experience, it was also a time where I felt the most discouragement in a church-type setting. My entire presence there felt awkward and redundant. Deep down I was believing the lie that my faith was somehow inferior because it was so hard and unnatural for me to do what came so natural for seemingly everyone else there. I was blind to the fact that my own way of sharing Jesus was just...different.
Should I even go?
Does that mean you shouldn’t go on mission trips if you are not gifted in evangelism? Nope! Sorry to burst your bubble, but you should still go. The Lord grows us when we are out of our depth like that, and you can’t grow in something unless you actually try it. Doing anything for the first time is usually messy and awkward, so don’t lose heart.
Something I felt the Lord encourage me in was that trips like these aren’t exactly about the numbers. It doesn’t matter if you spoke to or led ten people to Christ or just one. Or even about leading anyone to Christ. What matters is that you are there in obedience to God to do His will. His will may look like you simply having a meaningful conversation with someone you meet, or someone on your team, or you learning something about God that you wouldn’t have learned in any other situation. Any of these things, and others, make the trip ‘worth it’. God’s ways are so much wiser and beyond understanding that what you do in His will is never wasted from an eternal perspective.
You can bring what no one else can.
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he takes time to describe spiritual gifts to the church. And right after he lists them out, he affirms that they will be different. He gives an illustration that we are all one body but with many parts (1 Corinthians 12:15). God intends for all of our giftings to be brought together to create this beautiful and powerful and grace-filled mosaic. Each part is exactly where and what it should be (1 Corinthians 12:18). So no matter what our gifting, no matter how small or insignificant it seems to us, it is necessary for each part to bring what no one else can: the grace and gift he has given to us.
Your presence is valued. You have so much to offer that is unique to you! If you want to know more about spiritual gifts, check out 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4.