Welcome to day 7 of
30Days-30Pics: Defining Short-Term Missions.
Today’s post is directed at both potential short-term missions participants and to the parents of potential short-termers.
Teens and young adults are seeking people to look up to in their ongoing attempts to define who they are and who they’ll become. Ask one about their hero and they’ll name a sports player, an entertainers, a superhero or another well known personality. Today’s post is about giving them an additional choice.
Short Term Missions & Godly Role Models
Rev. Michael Ensey was guest speaker for France’s 2016 national youth convention. At the time he was president of Youth Ministries for our movement. Not only did he preach from the pulpit but he prayed for young people around the altar and mixed with them between meetings. He allowed them access… and our three MKs were impacted by both his ministry and his approachability.
Each organization operates differently in terms of how they plan their short-term mission trips. In our movement, 7-10 day summer trips (Apostolic Youth Corps or AYC) are chaperoned by members of our organizational youth ministries staff as well as district youth presidents, and their wives, from across North America. This ensures that those leading trips have been fully vetted and approved by our pastors and elders. In some cases, but not all, they are pastors already, themselves.
They are well-qualified, meaning that participants are getting to spend time with well-known leaders. They get to:
- … see what leaders are like around breakfast in the morning (often PRE-coffee!).
- … observe how they interact with service personnel (eg. in restaurants, hotels)
- … see how they treat members of the public.
- … find out how they spend their down time.
- … talk about what books they’re reading.
- … and yes… observe how they worship and minister behind the pulpit as well.
During these 7-10 days, a bond is formed.
This isn’t to say that you will be “besties” from here on out, but you will have personal knowledge of them and they will have personal knowledge of you. These leaders will have left an imprint.
We accompanied the #AYCFrance2015 meaning with both got to know the participants and they, us. I’ve watched how, on social media, those connections have been maintained. Some more closely than others of course, but there are lots all ’round.
Leaders from that trip were Rev. Luke Levine and Rev. Josh Carson and their wives. In the years since that trip I’ve seen both those men, in other meetings – far removed in time & space – come up and minister to my kids. Why? …Because they know and are known by them. Our kids have access to great leaders and role models who are not afraid to get “up close and personal”.
Thanks to short-term missions, our kids have had ongoing access to other leaders as well… long-term missionaries, Missionary Kid Ministries staff and organizational leaders.
They know and are known by them.
Business and personality gurus maintain that you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. I don’t know whether the stats would hold out in the same way, but I’d be willing to bet that there’s also a connection between who you are and who you look up to… who you try to emulate.
Do you want, or – in the case of parents – do you want your kids to develop godly role models? It begins with connections… and they happen in short-term missions.
God bless you as you connect with great & godly leaders through Short-Term Missions.