3 Tips To Disciple Students Into Missions Without The Requirement Of A Passport
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The Great Commission calls us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19 ESV), but how are we to approach missions in our student ministries when the Bible says “Go,” but customs says “No”? Mission trips have been a staple of youth ministry programs for many years. They are a transformational week for students. Students share the gospel for the first time, experience poverty and suffering in a third world context, and the Holy Spirit calls even some into ministry and missions. Has the pandemic of these last two years killed this platform for transformation in the lives of our students?
The power of a mission trip is that students are discipled and trained for ministry, are encouraged to
have eyes to see God’s work in the world around them, and are forced to rely on the Holy Spirit as they step out of their comfort zones. The goal of a mission trip is that the missional focus experienced on the trip would lead to a life of living missionally back at home. In a world where “go” is still sometimes met with a “no,” we still have an opportunity to disciple our students into missions. We can do this without the requirement of a passport or even the spaghetti supper fundraiser. What could this look like in your ministry?
1. Disciple And Equip Students For Everyday Ministry.
In preparing for a mission trip, we take a team of students and run them through intense training. They are trained in how to share the gospel, how to share their testimony, how to relate to the culture, and how to serve others. These discipleship and equipping areas are not just valuable on an international mission trip.
In a world where “go” is still sometimes met with a “no,” the mission trip location can shift from Central America to Central High School or shift from the African village to the local community shelter. Ministry opportunities abound in our lives and the lives of our students. If we encourage students to live missionally, the mission field must come closer to home.
If home becomes the mission field, our teaching and training for mission becomes the focus of our student ministry content. We can teach all our students to share the gospel and their story of God’s work in their lives. We can teach all our students about their culture every day and how to live faithfully within it and engage it with the gospel. We can give our students opportunities to serve others locally and look for hurting people to serve as they walk down the hall to the next class.
2. Encourage Students To Have Eyes To See God’s Work.
Mission trips open students’ eyes to the needs around them and how God is at work in the world. As we prepare students for an international mission trip, we should remind them that God is at work in the world even before we get off the plane, and we are simply going to join Him in His work.
The same God at work on the mission field is also at work on the school campuses
our students attend and in the locker rooms after practice. We need to encourage our students to pray for the Holy Spirit to open their eyes to God’s great work and the needs of others. Seeing God’s work and the prevalence of need leads to a natural invitation for students to step into what God is doing.
3. Call Students To Step Out Of Their Routines To Serve.
God calls our students and us to join Him in His work in the world. Paul writes: “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 ESV).
God is at work, and the opportunity stands before us, yet we hold back. Routines, comfort zones, and status quo all keep us from stepping out to serve others. Our students wonder how they will be perceived. Nightmares of being made fun of haunting their dreams. They fear stepping out in faith.
One of the most powerful things about a mission trip is that students are forced to exercise faith. Stepping out to do something they are uncomfortable with and using their training and discipleship to have a gospel conversation. Seeing real pain and suffering to realize this world is not always the beautiful place we hoped it would be. In stepping out in faith, students experience God, see that He is faithful, and understand that He invites them into a life of mission.
In a world where “go” is still sometimes met with a “no,” we are allowed to redefine missional action not to a place far away over there but our backyards, activities, and routines. As youth ministers, will we be the leaders to equip, challenge, and call our students to live every day on mission by faith?
Share your thoughts with others in our YM360 community:
- What are some things you have seen God do as you have gone on mission trips in the past?
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