Wednesday, July 17, 2013

student missions: guest post

Here's a guest blog post from Chris Wesley, our Director of Student Ministry. This past Sunday, a group of students from Nativity left to spend the week at Nazareth Farm in West Virginia. Check out a few thoughts from Chis and some photos from the trip...


Missions With The Next Generation

This week a group of students traveled to Nazareth Farm located in deep West Virginia. They’ll be staying with dozens of other teens from across the country on a small farm and each day go out into the community to repair houses and build relationships. I’m so excited to hear their stories and see the life change that will happen for them this week. It’s been a long journey to get this trip together, in fact it’s the first one we’ve had in 7 years. You might wonder, “Why the long gap?” 

While our Missions trips were very successful years ago, there was a lot of labor into something with little
fruit. The problem wasn’t the teenagers, or the partnerships. The problem was a lack of a system that adequately prepared the students for their experience and supported them as they came back. So, what’s changed in the last seven years?   

A Missions Director: Brian Crook our Missions Director has not only created a system for preparing missionaries, but also given it a vision. With a dedicated leader it’s been a lot easier for us in the student ministry to follow his lead.

Our Small Groups Got Stronger: It’s in Small Groups that teens learn about collaboration, accountability and trust. All of these are important aspects of a Missions team. Students who participate in our Missions projects are currently in Small Groups. 

Ministers Stepped Up: Along with Brian, the Missions team has a student representative Jeanette Coury. Jeanette has been serving with me in student ministry for eight years and her heart is filled with love for this next generation. A few years back she shared with me her vision for students to engage in mission, stepped up and took the reigns. She’s definitely one of my closest and must trusted ministers.

I’m More Mature: Honestly, planning and coordinating trips stressed me out. I was too prideful to share the burden, so if I couldn’t do it I didn’t do it at all. After nine years of youth ministry I have a better handle on delegating my weaknesses and exploiting my strengths. Now that the student ministry is stronger it’s easier to take risks on awesome experiences like students in mission.

This week is going to be awesome because the 6 students and 2 adults on the trip are so ready to engage God in a new way. This week is going to be awesome because I know that these teens are going to come back ready to share their stories.  

My hope is that this week serves as a catalyst for our next generation to be more present in our mission’s effort. My hope is that students will not only be more engaged locally and internationally with our partnerships, but that they’ll see Missions as an opportunity to grow as disciples.

2 comments:

  1. Great to see that things are off and running at Nazareth Farm. Can't wait to hear all about the trip, and see the ways in which the mission has encouraged and strengthened the teens!

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  2. Nice to see this happening with the "young" ones. Jeanette, you fit right in! Have a great time and I know you will truly enjoy the experience.
    Peace, JJ

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