Today in my final post on youth mission trips I want to write a little on how we support those young people who are thinking about taking a gap year and would like to use that to serve God here in the UK or elsewhere around the world.
This academic year we ran a Mission Fair where we gave out copies of the Short term service directory from Christian Vocations which is a fantastic guide to a wide range of ministries and can be searched by the type of work, the length of time or the location which works perfectly for young people who know they want to, for example, work with children but not sure where, or are passionate about going to Africa but not sure precisely where or what to do.
The room had a number of tables with resources from 20 key organisations and some DVDs from some of the bigger mission agencies. In addition we had five laptops connected to the internet ready for young people to do further research or to use some of the online questionnaires to help them work out what best suits them.
We ran the event on a Sunday evening after our normal youth work, helped by the church’s Mission Support Group, a group of adults who co-ordinate mission work from our church, and we saw over 50 young people come into the room and have a look around. As expected there were some having detailed conversations and others just hanging out with mates, if I could change it for next year I might limit it to years 10-13 (14-18 year olds) so as to allow more space for those deeper conversations, and we’ll be looking to run it earlier in the academic year, maybe at the middle of September.
What do you do to guide and support young people interested in a gap year?