Each year over 3,600 people come to New Orleans, learn to do ministry with the locals, and then bring that training back to their hometown.
MissionLab, a branch of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, trains mission teams by enabling them to learn together as a team.
Many kids come to MissionLab, and, for the first time in their life, they get to have a conversation with a homeless person or someone else completely outside their social circle. And, for many, this is what missions looks like.
But there is a deeper problem here. Missions is about something greater. It is about every person—the mission and the missionary—growing closer to God.
“We’ve had groups that have continued to do ministry they learned here,” said Pete Harbin, director of MissionLab. “Many who have always seen the homeless as another person who needs to go get a job, when they were here, got to have a conversation with them as people.”
This transformation of learning to see the value of people, regardless of their economic situation, is a core tenant of MissionLab.
“Those aren’t the things that define a person,” said Evan Anderson, who does marketing and design for MissionLab. A big part of what MissionLab does is to help missions teams see this.
Rodney, a student this past year, learned this very lesson.
“When our group was under the bridge to share the Gospel, a homeless man started sharing with us,” Rodney said. “We had thought we would share the gospel, and this man taught us that God is the only one who can change our perspective. He has a special place in my heart.”
This kind of reciprocal ministry is leaving an impact.
“God showed me,” said Chris, another student who attended this year, “that I don't have to travel far to do missions. There are opportunities all around me.”
If you want to get involved, MissionLab will work with you to plan a mission trip in line with kinds of missions you are passionate about. They will create the itinerary, work out the logistics, and create a training program to prepare you and your group before you come.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-877-TRY-MLAB.