How to Add Missions to What You Are Already Doing

Students walking together

If you survey the average churchgoer to ask if their church is involved in missions, it is safe to assume that many are. Some would respond that they travel around the world to share God’s love, and others would say they give to various mission offerings.

Missions discipleship is vital for the spiritual development of students. Many churches already have full schedules for their students, so leaders need to find creative ways to add missions discipleship into our regular programming.

The Biblical Basis for Missions

Adding missions to what you are already doing is a simple transition. As you make that transition, it's important to first help students understand the Biblical basis for missions. 

The first 11 chapters of Genesis are the introduction for the missions story. With the call of Abram in Genesis 12, the missionary theme gets underway. God called Abram to leave his country and promised to make a great nation beginning with him.

The missions message continues throughout Bible. Matthew 4:18-20 shows Jesus calling His disciples to “Follow Him,” so that they could fish for people. Immediately the disciples left their nets and followed him.

Missions is the work of God through the church by which the gospel of Jesus Christ is extended in word and deed to all people in the world. If a person is born again, they have been given a very specific assignment by God. Matthew 28:19–20 (NIV) reads

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Jesus has commanded every believer to take the gospel into all of the world. 

Missions Discipleship

A disciple is a follower of Jesus, and missions discipleship is the lifelong process of equipping individuals to share the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people.

One recent statistic shows that the average church attender frequents church twice a month. If you really think about it, you begin to understand that leaders have to make the most of the time we have with our students.

Once we reach them with the gospel and teach them  how God is at work in the world, we can begin to share a Biblical worldview and global perspective with our students.

Ways to Add Missions

If you cannot have year-round missions discipleship in your student groups, here are some ways you can add missions to what you are already doing:

Missionary Speakers
Begin by examining your network. Do you have a connection with the North American Mission Board or International Mission Board? Has a missionary been sent from your church? Many times your local association or state convention can point you in the direction of missionaries who are on stateside assignment. With technology, you don't even have to connect in person. Think of using Skype or FaceTime.

Weeks of Prayer
Teach students about the state, national and international weeks of prayer. Many times state convention, Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering student lessons are written to correspond with these weeks. Help students understand the importance of giving to these offerings by showing them videos, pictures, and information of how this money is used to further God’s Kingdom.

Mission Camps
When planning for summer camp, do you have options with a strong missions emphasis? Do you have camps that lead students to understand how they can move from learning about missions to engaging in mission action and witnessing?

Mission Projects
Leading students to understand the needs of their community is key to their understanding of missions. Three questions that you can ask yourself are:

  • Who lives in the area?
  • What resources are available in my church/association?
  • What other ministries exist in the community?

When you ask these questions, you will discover many different types of community missions existing in your community, such as tutoring, food ministry, clothes closet, literacy training, and so much more!

Mission Trips
A great way to infect people with a heart for the world is through firsthand exposure to missions and missionaries through short-term mission experiences. Missions becomes real to people when they go. If your group is preparing for a trip,  be sure to prepare your students well. Check with the missionaries you are joining, or check IMB's website for resources.

Share a Missions Story
Has a team in your church arrived home from serving on the mission field? Invite them to share their experience with the students and recall how they saw God at work. This gives the team time to debrief and allows the student to know that all members can pray, while some give, and some go.

Students on Mission
Did you know that WMU is offering a new way to target co-ed group leaders looking for ways to teach and engage students in missions? Missions Journey: Students includes a missions story, video, debrief, activity, and prayer time. This is an excellent resource that includes a full-year package, a monthly unit, or a drop in session so that you can customize learning for your student group. 

As we are going, telling, and making disciples of all nations, we have to explore ways we can teach others what it means to cultivate a missions lifestyle. Let’s join God at work and have some missions fun!

Written by Jess Archer, Children/Youth Mission Education Strategist with Louisiana Baptist Convention

Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash


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