The “church of tomorrow” is ready to be the church of now and today. They are ready to lead. They do not want the status quo, the typical, the norm. They want to set the pace, be stretched and exceed expectations. You’ve heard this all before right? We know the Millennials and Gen Z’ers have a reputation amongst the previous generations; but what are doing to provide this new up and coming generation with a platform to make tidal waves into eternity?
Jesus said in Matthew 28 “go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” What I find so amazing about this passage is that there is no age requirement on this command. The obvious implication of this passage is that if you are a disciple of Jesus you are to be making disciples of Jesus. Secondly, not only is there no age requirement, there are no border restrictions. Jesus said, “of all nations”. Regardless of age, we are to go! What an amazing invitation by the King of Kings to “declare His glory among the nations” (Psalm 96:3).
What are we as the church doing to launch our young disciples out in obedience to this command of Jesus?
The Student Missions movement is not a new idea. Young people started every mission’s movement and revival to this point in history. Todd Ahrend in his book “In This Generation” lays out the history of the modern day mission’s movement, its leaders, its motivations, and its impact on today. He says that you either “study history, watch history, or you make history.” I am in total agreement but would like to take it one-step further; we must be students of history and therefore be motivated from history to exceed the levels reach and make new history. Your students right now desire to do things and go to places that have not been done or reached before; do not hold them back!
“Nothing worthwhile is ever accomplished without surmounting great obstacles” (Grace Wilder).
In Western culture and especially in the United States we have been given a platform that no other people have been given before. We have the finances, the technology and the ability to travel unlike other nations and generations have been gifted to. Yet, in our western church, there is more money embezzled in the church each year than is given towards missions. This should not be. To borrow the deep theological statement from Uncle Ben in Spider-Man, “With great power comes great responsibility.” We have been given much power and many blessing financially. Let us invest in what will have eternal dividends, the spiritual formation of our young people and the eternal souls of men and women around the world.
What will Student Mission trips do for your student and for your church?
Let me answer this question by first defining what Student Missions should not be. Student Missions should not be about sight-seeing and a 2-week adventure that is an “end all” in and of itself. Student Missions must be long term focused, whether this means the student end up on a foreign field later in life or if he or she spends the rest of their life right in their hometown. The goal is the development of more Christ-minded, mission-minded, disciples wherever God may call them. A term that I love to use with students is “Short term trip with long term results”. These are long term results by leading the student to a deeper relationship with Jesus, giving the local church back a more mature disciple, and helping further (not hinder) the long term goal of the missionaries/churches on the field. In future blogs, I will delve into with more detail how each of these three parties is affected by short-term Student Mission trips.
So how will Student Missions affect your church? It will launch your students into practicing what you are hopefully teaching them; Gospel centered living. This will change your students, church, and community.
Expand their reach
As you seek to further the impact of your church and of your students, I implore that we must equip this generation to be strong disciples unlike any other generation before. We must not hold them back from attempting great things for God. Let it not be said of us that we hindered the work of disciple making of all nations but rather expanded its reach!
“What others have begun is ours to complete.” – Luther Wishard