If you survey the average churchgoer and ask if their church is involved in missions, it would be safe to assume that many are. Some would respond that yes, they are taking trips worldwide to share God’s love, and others would say that they give to various mission offerings.
We see that missions is the work of God through the church by which the gospel of Jesus Christ is extended in word and deed to all people in the world. If a person is born again, they have been given a particular assignment by God. Matthew 28:19–20 reads, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Jesus has commanded every believer to take the gospel into all the world. It is essential to help students understand the biblical basis for missions.
A recent statistic states that the average church attender frequents the church twice a month. If you think about it, you begin to understand that we as leaders have to make the most of the time that we have with our students. Once we reach them with the gospel and teach them about how God is at work globally, we can begin to share a biblical worldview and global perspective with our students.
If you are not able to have year-round missions discipleship in your student groups, here are ways that leaders can add missions to what you are already doing:
Begin by examining your network. Do you have a connection to a North American Mission Board or International Mission Board missionary? Has a missionary been sent from your church? Your local association and Louisiana Baptists can point you in the right direction.
Weeks of Prayer
Teach students about the state, national and international weeks of prayer. Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering, Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering student lessons are written to correspond with these weeks. Help students understand the importance of giving to these offerings by showing them videos, pictures, and information on how this money is used to further God’s Kingdom.
When planning for summer camp, do you have option to select one with a strong missions emphasis? Is the particular camp leading students to understand how they can move from just learning about missions to engaging in mission action and witnessing?
Getting students to understand the needs of their community is key to their understanding of missions. You can ask yourself three questions:
- What people live in the area?
- What resources are available in my church/association?
- What other ministries exist in the community?
When you ask these questions, you may discover many different types of community missions such as tutoring, food ministries, clothes closets, literacy trainings, and so much more!
A great way to help people with a heart for the world is through firsthand exposure to missions and missionaries through short-term mission experiences. Missions becomes real to people when they go. If your group is preparing for a trip, mission team training is vital. CARRY ON by Libby Quigg (chapter 7) explains how this is done. The International Mission Board website also has excellent resources.
Share a Missions Story
Has a team in your church arrived home from serving on the mission field? Invite them to share their experience with the students and recall how they saw God at work. This gives the team time to debrief and allows the student to know that all members can pray, some give, and some go.
Students on Mission
Did you know that WMU is offering a way to target co-ed group leaders looking for ways to teach and engage students in missions? Missions Journey: Students’ curriculum includes a missions story, video, debrief, activity, and prayer time. This is an excellent resource for ways to drop in relevant missions material.
As we are going, telling, and making disciples of all nations, explore ways to teach others what it means to cultivate a mission’s lifestyle. Let’s join God at work and have some missions fun!