Friday, March 6, 2009

Week of Prayer for North American Missions: Youth On a Mission

One of the things I really enjoyed about youth ministry were mission trips. I loved getting my hands dirty and seeing young people do the same thing. When I served as youth pastor, we did a number of mission trips. None of them were big and none of them were out of state or even out of the country. They didn't need to be. There were needs right here in our own neighborhood and state that God had called us to meet.

But then I got to thinking, why only youth? Why is it typically a "youth" thing to go take a week or a weekend off and serve somewhere and get dirty? And so we encouraged and invited any and every adult interested to join us as we helped others in any way we can. What we witnessed was a church becoming involved in something bigger than itself. I could tell many stories of how God provided and showed up for these events, but space nor time would allow. But the principle remains; why not everybody?

Sadly, too many in our churches consider service, missions, and hands-on evangelism to be only for young people. Why is that? As if the gospel being illustrated is only for a certain age group. This week, as we continue to pray for North American missions, let us not forget to pray that God will move us, even if by force, to get out of our church doors and live the gospel. What areas of need are in your own community? State? Nation? World? What are you doing about it?

Furthermore, I find it significant that it is young people who are oftentimes portrayed as rolling up their sleeves and helping others. There is great hope and God's glory is seen whenever young people take their faith to the streets. Let this be a reminder that God has come into the world to save it, and we, regardless of age, are called to share that message with everyone, even if it means getting dirty. God has called us all to ministry. So as we pray for our missionaries, let us be thankful for their willingness to go, and why your at it, consider going somewhere yourself. You might want to begin by asking your youth group where they are going next.

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