Written by:
Carl Gladstone (NCJ & NEJ)

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What If? (Mission Edition)

By Carl Thomas Stroud Gladstone

So the school year is back in full swing and now it’s time to put some plans in place for next year’s mission trip. You pull out the trusty “Mission Partners List” and see that the rotation has you returning to that place with the smelly showers and bad food.

Oh, boy.

But what if we could think about mission differently and imagine new ways of offering service? Check out the prompts below and let us know which one gets you thinking. How does it inspire you toward alternative plans for participating in Jesus’ mission in the world with your youth or young adults?

Mystery Mission - Each day participants gather at your home church, climb into a van with windows colorfully covered with window paint, and head off to an unknown service destination in your nearby city or countryside. Each day they arrive at a new location, partner with new friends on a local project, and reflect on the Bible stories about seeking God’s kingdom and not worrying about tomorrow! (Matthew 6:33-34)

Service from the Studio - The handy, construction-savvy people in your group have always excelled on your mission trips. But this time its the band geeks’ turn! Through half days of service with local agencies and afternoon/evenings in a recording studio, your team produces an album of original songs to sell as a benefit to good work in the community. Your young videographers and graphic designers even have time to create the “behind the music” documentary and album art for the project while your singers, musicians and budding sound technicians get a chance to hone their craft. You make a new song about God’s salvation, everyday! (Psalm 96:1-2)

Mission Moment-Athon - Ever felt like the mission reports in worship go on forever? Well what if they ACTUALLY DID? For a week your team schedules young people as speakers, performers, producers, phone bank operators and more for an online, 24/7 livestream raising money for your favorite mission or ministry! Shifts take turns sleeping, praying, and making food for those performing. Plus, everything is amplified by the power of young people and their social media connections. We know that love never ends and neither will this mission experience! (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Tiny Acts Tournament - Like a great missional swap meet, the goal for each of your small teams of young people and advisors is to see how they can turn $1/person on Monday into the greatest missional impact by Friday. Will they use their money to print invitations to a hunger awareness potluck? Will they drive around town looking for the simple acts of kindness they can commit? Daily awards for “noisiest do-gooders” or “most biblical” keep investments flowing into the teams until the tiny acts grand prize ceremony on Friday night where you celebrate that with God all things are possible! (Matthew 19:26)

Whatever scenario gets you most energized we hope you’ll take the time with your team to envision new ways to be in mission. You can partner with those in need in many ways and we pray that you’ll find the creative avenues for such partnerships that meet your group’s unique passions and interests.