Thanks to the St Paul Area Synod, ELCA, for highlighting King of Kings Lutheran Church’s Virtual Mission Trip, which sparked this Great Idea.
King of Kings’ approach could be a great way to begin a co-mission relationship with a congregation, community or nonprofit just down the road or on the other side of the world.
What is meant by “co-mission”?
“Co-mission” is an invitation to rethink the intent and outcome of the standard mission trip – and interrupt the narrative that “we ____ people” (insert: privileged, white, wealthy, educated, faithful, Christian, etc.), need to go and fix, educate, improve, convert, or otherwise alter “those ____ people” (insert: marginalized, people of color, poor, under-educated, pagan, non-Christian, etc.). “Mission” has for centuries been in cahoots with colonizing, a reality that must be reassessed.
Rather than going somewhere to “help” or “make disciples of” “those people” who are “less fortunate” or “unchurched” (all of these terms have a lot of baggage, hence the prolific use of quotations marks), consider a mutually beneficial intention and purpose that is responsive to Jesus’ Great Commission – not in “making disciples” (necessarily) of “others”, but in expressing and/or deepening the discipleship or faith of congregational participants whose relationship with God is nurtured by cultural exchange, deepening relationships with people unlike themselves, offering and receiving hospitality, and developing mutual respect and trust with new and different ethnic, religious, and cultural communities.
Virtual Co-mission Trips might be a Great Idea for congregations who have avoided mission trips precisely because of their colonizer overtones. Virtual Co-Mission Trips might also be a Great Idea for any congregation while COVID-related travel limitations continue to linger nationally and internationally. They might also be a Great Idea for any congregation that has historically avoided traditional mission trips due to a shortage of participants, cost, time, or all three.
If an existing co-missional relationship (or two) doesn’t already exist, you might find local, regional, or international Virtual Co-Mission Trip partners through judicatory offices (UCC, UMC), international church organizations, or local justice groups (MNIPL, Doing Good Together, Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement, Urban Immersion Service Retreats, YouthWorks, etc.).
Develop mutual care and deeper relationships through Virtual Co-Mission Trips!