LONDON - The Recap

[Here’s the email I sent to our church leadership about the incredible mission trip I got to lead in June 2013]

I wanted to briefly recap my experience on the London mission trip.

It was one of the most challenging and most fulfilling trips I’ve ever been on. I would go again in a heartbeat. It’s my sincere recommendation that BPBC continue using this partnership with Tarl to send teams (and CASH!) to see the name of Jesus made famous in this dark corner of the world.

In my experience, short-term mission trips can be hit-or-miss. While I have always personally benefitted from a new cultural exposure, I’ve sometimes questioned how much of an impact I’ve made with the native ministry. That was not the case with London. I can honestly say that the London trip had one of the most brilliant strategies that I’ve ever seen. Tarl and his church really understand how to use short-term mission teams for maximum impact.
Here’s the basics of what we did. Every day we went to the high street (the busiest area in town and the seat of local commerce), dressed in our shirts that read “NO RELIGION, JUST JESUS.” We had matching pamphlets that perfectly coincided with the shirts. (These are usually the kind of details that YOU really get right, in ministries that you lead.) We split into teams of two, and stood in an assigned area of the high street. As people would pass, we would hold up the pamphlets and ask, “Excuse me, do you mind if I ask you a question.” About 1 out of 10 people would say yes. We would ask, “Who do you think Jesus is?” That would be our open door to share the Gospel.
I’ve done open-air evangelism before that was good for the kingdom, but not really effective in a strategic sense. Here’s where the London campaign made small changes that had a huge impact. If we noticed that a person was very interested in what we were talking about, we would offer them a follow-up meeting. We would let them know that the pastor of our church regularly took meetings at the local coffee shop - located steps away from where we were standing. We would take their cell phone numbers and offer to have someone contact them. Immediately upon receiving the info, we would take it to Tarl. Within minutes, Tarl was sending these individuals a text, and setting up meetings. We saw 4 people saved (which for England is HUGE), and everyone of these salvations took place in the follow-up meeting with Tarl. This is so much cooler than scatter-shot evangelism, because the new believers are immediately connected back to a local body that is ready to disciple them.
As a team, we got to have between 400-500 one-on-one Gospel conversations. If you were to add up my team’s Gospel conversations from the past year, it would have been a fraction of that. Not only did this trip immerse us in a new cultural environment, it conditioned us to make sharing our faith a natural part of our Christian experience. I’ve been to seminars, camps, training sessions, seminary classes, and trips. This is the first time that I felt like I had a major break-through in the area of personal evangelism.
As a side benefit, this trip really allowed me to impact the nations. While on the high street, I had personal conversations with individuals from the following places: Lithuania, Poland, Wales, Scotland, Columbia, Nigeria, China, Jamaica, India, and Sri Lanka. If I were to poll my team, I’m sure there would be even more.

Thank you so much for allowing my wife and I to lead this trip. We will certainly be forever grateful. Tarl is an amazing brother in Christ, serving in a difficult climate. He gets it. He’s bright, committed, godly, visionary, and reliable. He’s an excellent missions partner, and BPBC is blessed to be a part of his ministry.

Aaron is the pastor of Spring of Life, a new church in Portland, Oregon. He's the owner of Amplify Creative.