Looking Back to the Mission Trip in San Francisco this past July, I came to realize that there are really good reasons why every student should consider going on a mission trip and why parents and adults should come alongside students and encourage and support them through these trips. Working alongside students in San Francisco just moreover solidified my calling to be a Youth Pastor and to watch as these students grow stronger in their walk with God. Here are just five of many reasons why students should add a mission trip to journey in their walk with Christ.
Mission Trips Bring Youth Groups Together.
If you’ve ever been on any sort of retreat, you know how that experience can build community. Students ride together, play together, eat together, stay up late together, and get up tired together… “Together” is a powerful word. Think of “together” as glue – the more broadly its spread; the better a youth group will bond. Mission trips apply “together” to students’ sense of adventure, their desire serve, their relationship with God, their daily experiences, their broken comfort zones and much more.
Mission Trips Broaden Perspectives.
Students might be more connected than ever with what’s happening around the world, but have they seen what it’s like to live below the poverty line in America? Or experienced the energy and exhaustion of inner-city living? Or felt the need to serve kids who come from rough pasts and backgrounds? Pulling students from their typical context helps them understand that the world is larger than their daily lives would have them believe. By beginning to understand another setting, their own context comes into truer focus.
Mission Trips Will Challenge Comfort Zones.
Beyond broadening perspectives, mission trips demand that students participate. Serving homeless, playing with kids, serving a meal, sleeping on an air mattress, experiencing a new culture – these are a few examples of ways comfort zones are crossed. But when coupled with intentional processing and worship, mission trips have the unique ability to challenge students’ comfortable perceptions of God and the world. Faith steps beyond the doors of the church and demands to be applied to real-world living.
Mission Trips Empower Students.
God is doing incredible work through the Church. The energy, authenticity, fresh perspective and passion students bring are a vibrant part of that church. Done well, mission trips help students take ownership and initiative. Eyes are opened. Passions are ignited. Possibilities are exposed. Pursuits begin. Mission trips help students see what they are capable of. But first, the Church chooses to believe in the incredible opportunity of being a student – not a possibility to be met “someday,” but a boiling potential just waiting to overflow.
Mission Trips Create Sacred Space.
The Israelites used to build monuments by throwing together big piles of rocks to point at later and say, “That signifies God’s faithfulness in our nation.” For many students, mission trips represent a time and a place when God worked in and through their lives. More than a mere mountain-top high, these sacred spaces both anchor students in their faith and propel them forward in their relationship with God. Even in times of trouble, teenagers often point toward their mission trip experience and say, “That signifies God’s faithfulness in my life.”
As a church, we should be proud of the High School students that served in San Francisco! They served lunch to the homeless on the streets of San Francisco and prayed for these men, women, and children. It was incredible to see our students go up to strangers that they might normally ignore, and to seek them out to love on them and pray over them. We also worked every day in the most gang infested part of Richmond with elementary kids and a community center. Just being able to play with them, dance with them, swim with them, and love on them, opened their hearts to hear the Gospel. Our student’s hearts were changed to see what these kids had gone through and how much they made a difference in their lives. Finally, we were tasked to help start a Youth Ministry at a small church in Novato, CA. Monday through Wednesday night we ran youth ministry and brought students into what it might look like to take ownership of their church and how they could come together as students and make a difference in their city and church. We worked all day from sun up to sun down and we were exhausted, but not one student would change their experience that they received for anything else in the world. God truly moved in their hearts and drew them closer into a trust of His calling on each of their lives. To see more of what we did in San Francisco check out this blog link and enjoy!!!!
"Working alongside students in San Francisco just moreover solidified my calling to be a Youth Pastor and to watch as these students grow stronger in their walk with God.”
"It was incredible to see our students go up to strangers that they might normally ignore, and to seek them out to love on them and pray over them.”
"We worked all day from sun up to sun down and we were exhausted, but not one student would change their experience that they received for anything else in the world. God truly moved in their hearts and drew them closer into a trust of His calling on each of their lives.”