As a church we’ve been doing some thinking around mission and our youth work. At the moment it centres on 3 different thoughts:
- Widening missional opportunities
- Deepening teaching on mission
- Providing more information for those who want to pursue short-term mission opportunities.
Widening missional opportunities: at present most of our opportunities are for 16 year olds plus. We run a bi-annual mission trip to places such as India in partnership with organisations such as Oasis and BMS. We’re hoping to develop opportunities across the age-ranges:
- 11-14 termly activities based in the local community
- 14-16 annual time away based in the United Kingdom
- 16+ bi-annual time away based abroad (eventually becoming annual)
Deepening teaching on mission: teaching on mission doesn’t seem to have been a major priority within our youth work, and yet if we’re expecting young people to commit to some form of mission then we need to give it the appropriate teaching time. We’re hoping to run a series next year with expert practitioners coming and speaking about local, national and international mission, and challenging us to think how mission can be re-developed for the 21st century.
Providing more information for those who want to pursue short-term mission opportunities: we hope to do two things in this area: firstly to host an annual mission fair in January to April which provides our young people with the opportunity to hear from a wide range of mission organisations; secondly, encouraging young people to use the expertise of people who sit on our Missionary Support Group as they look to go on short-term missions.
I’m sure we haven’t thought of everything, but hopefully doing these three things will integrate mission more firmly into our youth ministry. How about you – what do you do to place mission within your youth ministry?