The topic of student missions has become a controversial topic among many Christians and churches in recent decades. Some claim that sending students out on missions trips can hurt those they are trying to serve instead of helping those they are trying to serve. Others claim that student missions are glorified vacations and that the money donated to these opportunities would be better spent elsewhere in the church budget. Still more claim that student missions trips are no longer practical in our world that has been recently ravaged by illnesses like COVID-19, not to mention the growing political polarization we all face.
But are these claims true? In other words, do they reflect what the Word of God says about missions and about young people participating in missions, despite the costs and inconveniences? Should we as Christians and ministry leaders cave to this clamoring?
If we are going to live our lives and lead our ministries based on the Word of God, as opposed to the wisdom of men, then I submit that we must continue investing in student missions! Here are three reasons why:
1. The Bible Models It
Scripture is full of examples of young people being called and used by God to spread the truth and to do His will. Joseph, David, Josiah, Daniel, Mary, the 12 disciples, and Timothy are just the start of such a list. The God they served is still the God who calls and uses young people today. But also remember that each of these people had older mentors in the faith who challenged and encouraged them to trust and obey God. Let’s be those kinds of leaders for our students!
2. Students Are Capable of It
In more recent church history, God used what became known as the Student Volunteer Movement to start dozens of missions organizations and to raise up thousands of new missionaries. How great would it be if God used your students as an example to your church because of their zeal for God and their growing Christlike character (1 Timothy 4:12)? Students are capable of influencing others, including those who have been saved much longer than they have, to live life more intentionally for the sake of the Great Commission.
3. Jesus Commands It
Do we need any other reason? His command to be involved in reaching others with the Gospel contains no caveats based on age or experience. Every Christian is called – it’s just a matter of where and how. Let’s not give our students the impression that missions are just for a class of elite Christians. If you’re saved, you’re sent (John 20:21)!
In every generation, there are obstacles to getting the Gospel both across the street and around the world, and ours is no exception. Don’t let your students settle for a cause less than that which God says is the reason we are here on this earth! In a world with a million distractions, where everyone has instant access to any lie from the enemy they want, we must clearly and consistently challenge students to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19); to go to their friends at school; to go to the homeless, the poor, the widows, and the orphans in their cities; to go to a different culture where they will be forced to learn, listen, and prefer others; and to go to one of the thousands of people groups who still have no access to the Gospel.
Here at Word of Life, we are committed to involving and equipping students to reach others with the Gospel. We believe that every believer in Jesus Christ, regardless of their age, is capable of being involved in the Great Commission. One of the many ways we do that is by sending students out on two-week, cross-cultural missions trips every summer as part of a program called Student Fusion. The goal of Student Fusion is to teach students to share their faith while serving alongside full-time missionaries and Christian workers.
To learn more about Student Fusion and how your students can get involved click the button bellow!
Randy Curtis has worked at WOL for over 13 years, currently serving as the Director of Mobilization for WOL International Ministries. He is a graduate of the Word of Life Bible Institute and Liberty University, has a biblical counseling certification with ACBC, and is currently working on a Master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. Randy is married to Kylie and has three children: Alivianna, Luke, and Ben. He enjoys pickup basketball, reading, a long list of podcasts, and a good dad joke.