MissionSpeak: January 2017: What can I do to interest my church's young people in missions?

January 2017: What can I do to interest my church's young people in missions?

Stephen Gibson Stephen Gibson

     Why do you have a passion for missions? Consider ways to replicate those formative experiences.  And remember, you cannot impart what you don’t have.

     Your heroes are revealed by the stories you tell and by your responses to others’ stories.  Who are the people who impress you?  Are they businessmen, athletes, soldiers, or performers?  Do your young people observe your admiration of the sacrifices and accomplishments of missionary heroes?

     Youth need to meet living heroes.  Some live missionaries seem ordinary or even drab when out of their field.  Ask them about their experiences for your children to hear.  They are actually fascinating people!

     Get young people involved in successful outreach.  Great Commission Camp, for example, gives them a taste for outreach with other youth, overcoming the fear and possibly igniting a passion that changes their lives.

Steven Hight Steven Hight

     I have heard, and I believe it’s largely true, that God calls workers in the midst of revival. It’s a time when people are more in tune with His voice, more attuned to His will, and more concerned about the spiritual welfare of others. Strive to keep your congregation at a high spiritual level and lead them in seeking genuine revival.

     A survey conducted several years ago revealed that reading good missionary biographies has been a major influence in the lives of those who have answered the call to missions. Encourage your young people to read them. When you have missionaries at your church, plan a special time for young people to meet them and ask questions.

     EFM, Mission Helps, and RopeHolders are promoting a year of “Praying the Lord of Harvest.” Encourage your church to join us. God quickens the heart of him who prays.

Eric Himelick Eric Himelick

     I know what interested me: stories! Our Children’s Missionary Band leader, Sister Jody Herring, told interesting missionary stories that caught my attention even as a child. Here are some other ideas:

  • Invite missionaries to share at your church who embody your missions philosophy; hold them up as heroes.
  • Have a Children’s Missionary Band with dynamic, exciting leadership.
  • Encourage your children and young people to write to the children of missionary families.
  • Invite missionaries to your home when they are in the U.S. on deputation.
  • Pass around missionary prayer cards in youth and children’s services and have your children pray for the missionaries your church supports.
  • Let your children see you giving generously to missions. Don’t just tell them it’s important; show them with your example.

 

Randall McElwain Randall McElwain

     In our assumption that our youth will pursue the “American dream,” we often fail to challenge them to something bigger. We must show your youth something bigger than themselves.

     Challenge them with a big vision – there is “a field white unto harvest.” Get them on some real short-term mission trips.

     Challenge them to big sacrifices - “Is there not a cause?”  Ask your youth to give sacrificially to missions.

     Challenge them with a big God - “Is there anything too hard for God?”  Introduce them to the biographies of great missionaries who have seen God do great things.

     As our young people see the thrill of joining in God’s mission in our world, many will rise to the challenge. Let’s not sell our young people short; let's challenge them to become a part of what God is doing in a new generation.

Steven Mowery Steven Mowery

     To mention a few ideas . . . Invite missionaries to outings, youth camps, and other venues which provide informal or at least semi-informal settings where your young people can meet missionaries on a personal level.   Having them sense the compassion, hearing about the opportunities, and hearing the “stories-behind-the story” will help make missions come alive.   Some young people need some one-on-one time or small group time with missionaries around a camp fire, at a pizza party, etc.   Missionaries could focus on your youth by sharing in their Sunday Schools.   QUALITY missions videos and books centered upon a solid missions message are great tools as well.   Have missionaries communicate prayer requests and unique happenings to young people via Skype, Twitter, Instagram, email, etc. thus involving them in praying for specific field needs outlines for them some realities of mission work.  Also, get them involved in seeing spiritual needs of the local community around your church.   Principle:  Information regarding missions inspires people toward missions.   

Marc Sankey Marc Sankey
  1. Be a contributor to regular missions trips by going yourself or sending a young person in your stead
  2. Show an interest in missions in your public praying. Let young people here you pray for missionaries
  3. Express authentic concern and personal interest in missionaries in your conversation with young people at your church
  4. Work with church leadership to sponsor missionary visits to the local church. Suggest to those who lead the youth ministry at your church that they conduct a special youth missionary service where young people can pose questions directly to the missionary and get to know him/her personally.
  5. Buy good missionary books and donate them to the church library
  6. Be open to the call of God for you to become a missionary. Going yourself as a missionary will do more to impact and interest young people than possibly anything else you could do.

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