7 Things to Ask if You're Thinking About Global Missions for Your Students
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The Great Commission tells us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” Matthew 28:19
It is an all too familiar passage that we should center our lives around. After all, Jesus said this to His disciples, right?
While this is true and we need to live this out, we need to take a step back when looking at global missions with our youth ministries and first ask what we are doing to engage/impact locally. There is Scripture that helps guide us on this. Let’s dig into that a little more together.
In Luke 4, we see where Jesus begins His ministry. He begins by going to his hometown of Nazareth, to the synagogue, where he starts by reading a passage from Isaiah 61. He says that this Old Testament prophecy has now been fulfilled with His reading of it. The thing I want us to catch here is that Jesus started by doing mission first in his hometown and then launching out to other places.
1. What Are We Doing As A Youth Ministry To Serve In Our Church And Local Community On A Regular Basis?
What are you doing inside and outside the walls of your local church to provide your students with opportunities to serve? There are so many wonderful outlets where you can allow your students to worship the Lord through using their passions, giftings, and talents for His Glory. We have to lead, guide, and equip teenagers to be able to minister effectively locally before we can begin to consider sending them out on global missions.
I would encourage you to start by cultivating a heart of serving within your students by investing time and resources into making the community where you are a better place. When Jesus has freed you, bound up
your broken heart, released you from darkness, He then ushers you into an adventure of rebuilding, of restoration, and of renewal. Because of how He’s changed his children, his children are to have a beautiful and beneficial impact in the communities where they live. This is the message of Isaiah 61.
Our family moved to Zambia over eight years ago to serve in a local church here. But before moving to the other side of the world, we were heavily involved in our local church, as well as a local outreach mission to underprivileged kids in our community. We had no idea at the time that God would call us to Zambia; however, those years of serving locally prepared us for serving globally.
Okay, so that’s the first step. Let’s say you are already involved locally, and you want to serve globally. What are some other questions you might want to consider when looking for opportunities to serve abroad?
2. How Am I Exposing My Students To God’s Bigger World?
Your students need to be exposed to God’s bigger world and to different cultures. This is something that is worth fighting for—no matter the amount of money, time, or personal investment—to make it happen for them while they are under our ministries. Whether you are considering a trip to Mexico, Europe, Asia, or Africa (my personal favorite), you cannot put a price tag on exposure to what God’s doing among his people outside of the students’ limited contexts.
3. Am I Letting Finances Get In The Way?
Don’t let the price of a trip stand in the way of stepping out in faith. Too many times, we get caught up in the financial side. I have seen the Lord do mighty things when we step out in faith and believe that financial provision will happen. Your students need to experience this as it will help to cultivate faith and give them an anchor to look back on.
4. Am I Teaming Up With The Right Mission Organization?
Consider carefully who you serve with. Take the time to get to know the ministry. What exactly will you be doing while you are there? What is their mission strategy? What is their ministry culture?
5. Am I Limiting What God Is Doing By Creating Student Only Experiences?
Encourage families to come. Moms and Dads need to be on a trip like this with their teenagers. It’s good for the student, and it’s good for the parent. You have the opportunity to offer an entire family a shared experience and a powerful bond that will be an anchor for them for years to come.
6. Why Be One And Done?
Once you have found where you feel called to serve, consider how you can go deeper and invest longer term with that ministry. Bringing teams is a great way to keep connected; however, there are other ways that you can keep your youth connected to what is happening globally so ask your host ministries what you can do to stay invested.
7. Is Fear A Limiting Factor?
Don’t let fear stop a calling to go! Even in the midst of COVID people have still been traveling and the gospel still needs to go forth.
Share your thoughts with others in our YM360 community:
- How are you leading, guiding, and equipping your teenagers to be able to minister effectively locally?
- What opportunities have you created in your local church or community for your students to worship the Lord through using their passions, giftings, and talents for His Glory.
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