Three Reasons Why I Love Mission Trips
I waited far too long to lead our youth group on a mission trip. I had all sorts of excuses. “I have too much going on with my normal duties at the church.” “The students’ families do not have the resources to send their children.”
While I continued through my list of excuses, the Holy Spirit told me to simply obey. The clear command from Jesus of “Go” found in Matthew 28:19-20, and the command in 2 Timothy 2:2 of teaching the truth to those under our care, pressed me to take the plunge into our first youth group mission trip. As a result, God did incredible things in my life, in the students’ lives, and in the lives of the adult church members through our first mission trip last summer. God showed up as He always does when we follow Him on mission.
Here are three reasons in support of taking your students on a mission trip this summer.
You Will Learn About Yourself
Organizing a mission trip is no easy task, particularly for youth pastors like me, whose primary gifts are teaching and counseling. I postponed leading a mission trip in my early years because I was intimidated by all of the administrative work. I serve as Assistant Pastor in my church, so my duties extend beyond those of the student ministry. How could I handle even more administrative details? Through the process of organizing the trip, I learned how much I struggle to ask for help. I also discovered my lack of trust in God’s provision of both resources and volunteers. In leading my first mission trip, I learned to rely on God more, to trust myself less, and to ask God’s people to use their gifts and resources to help fulfill the mission God had called us to.
1.You Will Learn About Your Church
I was amazed at not only the talents and gifts of my fellow church members, but also at their willingness to serve and give. I believe we have not yet seen the full potential of our local church, because we simply have not had the confidence to call them into anything. My wife and her best friend, who also serve in the student ministry, handled much of our fundraisers and food preparations. They also helped me stay on top of administrative details. God allowed me to see the joyful financial generosity of kind-hearted donors. Within every church are at least a few members who love to give of their financial resources, if we would simply give them an opportunity to invest in God’s Kingdom. You may be surprised at who steps up to use their talents or to give of their resources. Student mission trips can open your eyes to the potential of your local church working together in unexpected ways for the sake of the Gospel.
2. You Will Learn About Your Students
I was not only surprised by some of the adults in our church, I also learned so much about my students. I was amazed at who stepped up and who didn’t. We all have students who talk a big game, but when the clock starts they’re still in the locker room. Our mission trip showed us as a youth team who the leaders were. Some of our quieter students found an outlet to serve and to grow in confidence, while the smooth talkers in the group were presented with a few opportunities to humble themselves. I would suggest that one of the most valuable ways to discover your students’ strengths and weaknesses is to go on a mission trip.
4. You Will Bless Another Ministry
Last year we took our youth group to Family Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN. The church is located in the inner core, and the leadership there taught us so much about cross-cultural ministry opportunities in our own American cities. Our youth were able to accomplish maintenance projects for the church such as painting, prepping parking lots for sealing, etc. Not only did our teens learn a lot about another part of America, they were able to encourage the staff at Family Baptist by showing God’s love in the form of help. Our church will return this summer with a group of adults. I pray that this relationship continues for many years to come.
Where will you take your students to serve this year? What partnership can you develop with another ministry? What opportunities for potential future ministry do your students need to see?