Any parent or teacher who has ever stepped foot on a preschool playground or classroom will tell you the same: we are born selfish. In our sin nature, we automatically think of ourselves first, and learning to do otherwise is an uphill struggle for most. That is why youth missions are so vitally important for young believers especially: it helps students think outside of themselves, form a new way of looking at the world that can and will shape their future.
Students and chaperones alike give many reasons for their passion for youth missions:
- Fulfill the Great Commission: In some of Jesus' last words to us on earth, He said, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20). If Jesus took time to tell us this when time was short, then we should make time to respond to His very direct instruction: go and make disciples.
- Learn HOW to talk about Jesus: Many believers are not automatically comfortable sharing Christ with others in an upfront, genuine way. They fear not knowing the right words, social discomfort, and rejection. By placing themselves in an environment where they and their peers are outside of their normal environment, it allows them to stretch themselves and become more comfortable with sharing Christ.
- Being Christ's hands and feet: Words are powerful, but service says more than we could ever fit in a sermon. By meeting the physical and emotional needs in the places we go, we are able to show God's active care and love for His people. Additionally, by seeing the true need of those they help, students recognize and help meet the needs of someone other than themselves.
- Answering the question: Why won't God do something? For many non-believers, the pain, struggle, and poverty that aches across the world is seen as evidence for of God's ambivalence. Missions Trips give young people the opportunity to see themselves as the way that God is responding, being used by God to reach those in spiritual and physical pain is the most beautiful way to share the gospel. That way when they later start to ask themselves, "Why isn't God doing something?" they'll remember that He did, He sent us.
TCCS offers missions trips to different locations and trip lengths throughout the year. Students with a passion to serve have opportunities to help in Mexico, Peru, and Africa. Students who can't go for one reason or another can help support their peers through prayer, fundraising, or donations. One thing is certain: if it was a priority for Jesus, it should be for us too. After all, we've been sent.
"If you are on the fence about going, I would encourage you to pray and seek the Lord. I believe scripture is clear and that we all should be "going" - the only question is really where? If there is not a clear "no" or "not now" from the Lord, I believe His word has already given us the answer. I would also encourage those who are hesitant to talk to others who have gone and ask lots of questions!" -Cindy Warner