Why you can’t do a mission trip from home?

By James Davenport, Church Partnership Director

Missions is everywhere. Jesus made that clear by His final words on earth to His disciples, “…be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The call to go and make disciples, to dispense Christ love to all peoples everywhere is a call for every Christian. So why take your students on a short-term mission trip, if you could just stay home and do missions? Specifically, why do you and I expend so much energy as youth leaders to plan and prepare, asking families to put up significant amounts of money if we could just stay home and do missions in our community?

Can the answer be to do both?

At Next Step, celebrate youth groups committed to serving in their communities, quite candidly isn’t that what the church is supposed to do! And yet, we encourage and even appeal for youth leaders to come on mission trips because as a ministry we are convinced that God uses these experiences in student lives as a catalyst for life change – stepping out in faith always leads to life transformation!

There are three ways we find mission trips offer incredible life-change:

 

The Greatest Discipleship Window of Your Ministry

Over the course of a typical student ministry calendar, no other event or moment will give you as a youth leader the amount of time a student mission trip will give you to build into the lives of your students. In fact, if you added up all the hours of your weekly meetings for the entire year (52 meetings x 2 hours = 104 total hours) it would amount to less time than a one week mission trip (6 days x 24 hours = 144 total hours). The greatest discipleship window of your student ministry calendar are mission trips!

Besides the significant amount of time week-long mission trips afford youth leaders and volunteers to relationally engage with students, mission trips offer countless teachable moments. Students will experience and endure both challenging and rewarding moments as they step out in faith to do the work God has for them during their week of service.

 

Forging Strong Relational Friendships of Students

Given that your students will spend an entire week together, which will include close proximity such as a long cross country van ride together, working side by side on work projects, sleeping and eating in the same facility, and coming together each evening to worship and share what God is doing in their lives – students will forge strong and often life-long friendships with each other.

Often, we overlook the importance of Christian friendship, but as a youth minister myself, giving students opportunities to not only create shared memories together but presenting them the opportunity to share their lives together through a focused week of mission is a high priority. The benefit of giving your students the ability to build a strong community of like-minded peers when they return home and are confronted by all sorts of influences at home, in school, and around their neighborhood – is invaluable!

 

Ingredients for Growing Faith

Mission trips provide all the ingredients for a student to take that next step and grow in their personal faith and relationship with Christ. Students are removed from their typical everyday life, cell phones and social media are blocked out, family and friends from school are not near, and students will repeatedly be asked to try new things often in different cultures far outside their comfort zones.

When we choose to stay in comfortable situations, we stagnant in our faith and ultimately fail to see our need for God. Stepping out in faith always leads to life transformation, it may not be easy and there may be missteps along the journey but giving your students that opportunity is worth the investment!

 

Whether you choose to stay home this summer and focus your efforts on serving your community or you choose to do a traditional one week student mission trip, Next Step is for you and your students – may God be glorified!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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