Here is a quick idea that ran through my mind recently. We recently came back from Jamaica on a short-term mission trip with our student ministry. We have a burden now to reach our city with the Gospel. We are going to plan a mission trip soon (working on logistics now) to our own city. It will be overnight. We are working on making this mission trip as much a cultural difference as possible so our students can see what a mission trip is like. We are going to plan this small overnight trip exactly like we would a short-term mission trip to a foreign country. This is just a quick idea that I want to challenge you on. Why not consider doing this in your own city?
Recently, we took our students to Jamaica on a short-term mission trip. We were there for one week working with a missionary that our church supports. We were involved in several public schools in Jamaica, we had a work day at a local church in Jamaica, and we ministered in the church on Sundays. We also did some street visitation as well. It was a life changing week for sure! Our students came back changed, and wanting to impact our community with the Gospel. Now, the question that I want to answer for you is why mission trips are important? Why are mission trips important for you to get your students involved in?
- Mission trips help students get a heart for the Gospel- This was the purpose of our mission trip! The Gospel! This is why we went to Jamaica. Our students were able to see life change in people’s lives that helped them gain a heart for the Gospel and the power that it brings.
- Mission trips help students get a heart for their city- This was the coolest thing for me to see in our students. I have seen our students come back with a desire and burden for the people in our city. They are ready to take the Gospel to the “least of these” in our community. They all came back with a desire to be more missional and intentional with the Gospel right here in our community.
- Mission trips help break down cultural and comfortable barriers- When you go on a mission trip, you are immediately taken out of your comfort zone. You face so many cultural differences that it pulls you out of your comfort zone. This is a good thing. When you are in your city, you are comfortable. It is what you are used too, and it is difficult to step out of that comfort zone. Mission trips help take you out of it. For example, when we got home, some of our team went downtown right where we live and shared the Gospel with some street homeless guys. This was uncomfortable, but because of what God did in our hearts on our trip, we were okay to step out of our comfort zone, because we ultimately were under the protection of God.
- Mission trips are an encouragement to missionaries- This is HUGE! Go to a mission trip to be a blessing to the missionaries there. Connect with them, and get to know them. Living on a mission field can be lonely, and groups need to go more often to be a blessing and an encouragement to the missionaries in their area.
- Mission trips get students thinking about missions- This never hurts. You never know a mission trip could be what God uses to call one of your team members to be a missionary somewhere.
[Question]: Do you take your students on short-term mission trips?
As you all know, we went on our Jamaica trip this past week! It was a great week, and really changed my outlook on a lot of things. I wanted to share 2 things that God did in my life this past week in Jamaica:
- Be intentional- This word has been on my heart more than ever in my life here recently. As I spent time with Pastor Cletis Titus, Pastor Andrew Pryce, and their families, I learned rather quickly that they were intentional. They did life there in Jamaica on purpose. Everywhere they went, they made it a point to share the Gospel. They shared the Gospel in restaurants, department stores, and souvenir shops. They were in Jamaica geographically to share the Gospel. So this brought the question to my mind, why can’t I be in Winston-Salem/Lexington to share the Gospel? I lose sight of the purpose that missionaries have. We must be intentional with the Gospel everywhere that we go and everywhere that we live!
- Be missional- Now, the first thing that I learned goes hand in hand with this one, but I want to be missional. I want my life’s goal and purpose to be for the Gospel, and nothing else! If that is my purpose, everything else will fall into place. Take the mission of Jesus everywhere that we go!
These are the two main things that God showed me this past week in Jamaica! I hope that this will be a challenge to you as you try to reach your city with the Gospel!
As you all know, we were in Jamaica with our student ministry on a missions trip. It was a life changing experience. Check out our highlight video from this past week:
So I’m one of the lovely few who have been waking up at 5 am to go for a morning walk/jog. Then we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the villa where we’re staying and soon after headed to the bus to get started. First we drove over to a prep school to do a few things for the kids (who were completely opposite of the last school we went to, extremely well behaved…better than most american kids). They were so precious in their little uniforms and they were all really sweet & funny when we talked to them. While we led them in a few songs, they sang along and even did the motions! They paid attention while we performed our crazy skit, and laughed while we acted like ridiculous chickens and monkeys. Rachael Tullock shared her testimony which was great & even moved a few of us to tears, and Nathan preached an awesome sermon that I think the kids definitely needed to hear. More pictures were taken and we taught them how to say “Bye y’all!!”
Moving on, we travelled to a school for the deaf. Amazing to say the least. The view was incredible and we had someone who gave us a tour. Not much to it, but it was interesting and eye-opening to see how different school is for those kids, and though we didn’t get to communicate with them besides waving as we walked past, I feel like they enjoyed seeing us. Our group loaded the bus and went on a small tour of part of Jamaica. We went back to the villa to eat lunch, then Uncle, our bus driver, drove us around to a few different amazing places. The Ritz hotel we walked through was breath-taking as well as the Rose Hall (don’t worry, we took like a thousand pictures so you can enjoy the view too). Returning to the villa, a few guys walked to get beef patties ( I don’t understand the obsession with them, lol) and we had dinner. Pool time followed, lots of fun, and then an evening testimony from Pastor Andrew. He also treated us with a few songs since he has a beautiful voice. He and his wife sang one song together (they are so cute) then we went inside and hung out for a little bit until it was time to curl up in our beds, in the oh so lovely air condition.
That’s pretty much it, I hope all of you have a fantastic day. Don’t forget to smile!! Only one more day till we get to see all of you
Thanks for your prayers & for reading my post,
Hello! Devin Dowell here and im going to tell you about our day yesterday. I woke up around 6:30 yesterday to get a nice shower and start the day. After breakfast we headed to a public school. As soon as we got off the bus we were surrounded by kids that were feeling and playing with our hair needless to say it was a different way of getting welcomed. After that we then made our way to the class room where we sang songs and N page preached to the kids. There were around 62 kids in the room and they were all in the 5th grade. After Nathan had preached we got back on the bus and were headed to the villa when we came upon a crowd of people gathered in the road. Come to find out a little girl from one of the nearby schools had run out in front of a car and gotten hit. It was very sad and we saw her being held by two men. When we got back to the villa we got a little lunch and then headed out to the beach to do a little relaxing. We stayed at the beach till around 5pm then headed back to the villa for the evening. We had supper around 6pm and then watched Beyond the Gates of Splendor around 7. After the movie most of us hit the bed for a good nights rest.
Thankyou for all the prayers!
Teresa- I began the day at 6:20 to go for a morning jog. We made our way to the beach where we met a cool guy named Friday. Friday thought I was a boy at first, but when he realized I was a girl he became excited and I received a nickname, “mother Teresa”. I have actually been called that alot! Arriving back at the Villa brought a refreshing shower, yummy breakfast, and preparations for the service at Bay Life Baptist Church. I was chosen to give my testimony in front of the church. I was very nervous, but after praying with Pastor Josh, God gave me confidence and I was given the words I would say. I shared my testimony and then proceeded to talk about what God has been working on in my life. Pastor Cletis Titus has been challenging us to give God our all-to not hold anything back from Him. The church service was a very neat experience. Everyone we met was friendly and eager to meet us. We were able to spend time with the most precious, thankful kids. An older boy, named Andrew, who won a prize playing “gorilla, man, net” (similar to rock, paper, scissors) gave his toy to a younger kid. After arriving back to the Villa, we decided to cool off in the pool. Everyone was attempting to take Eddie down. It only took about 9 people to accomplish our goal. It kind of reminded me of Godzilla! Later, we went back out to Bogue Village to tell more people about the church showing Courageous later that night. However, the rain messed up our plans. We were soaked, but still decided to try some Jamaican ice cream, which was very creamy and good. At first we worried, when no one had showed up for the movies 10 minutes till. We were later told that Jamaicans are always late. We had many show up and the movie was great (for the third time). After many tears, we headed back to the Villa for a good nights rest.
Thankyou everyone for all the many prayers!
Danielle- Unlike Teresa I like my sleep and I did not join them with their jog. That is just too early for me. I was well rested and ready to start my day. After a nice refreshing shower, I had a delicious breakfast. We made our way to Bay Life Baptist Church and we stayed with the kids in the children’s church. The turn out was great; there were so many kids that showed up. They were all so amazing. We started off by leading them in songs and they all joined in on. Afterwards we took the kids outside for a relay race and they had a blast with that. They got competitive (especially Ed’s team or actually just Ed) We went back inside and the girls sang a song for the older people in their church service. That went so well and we all sounded great; we had a few women in tears.The girls left the service and joined the kids again just in time to help with craft time. The kids were so excited about making a sail boat/ raft. They really enjoyed it and so did we. We came back to the Villa and decided to take a little dip in the pool and cool off. We had a blast with Ed. We were all attacking him and he was just throwing us off him left and right. We finally got him down with the help of Josh Jordan. While we were in the pool there were a few of us napping and catching up on some much-needed sleep. We all got out of the pool to get ready to go through Bogue Village to pass out some more flyer’s for the movie Courageous that night. There were a lot of people who seemed like they were pretty excited about the movie. While we were out passing out the flyer’s it started to rain and we had to run back to the church and we were soaked. Before the movie started there was an ice cream shop open and we decided to get some and it was great. It was the perfect little snack. We had a really good turn out for the movie, there were quite a few people who showed up and I think they really enjoyed the movie; I know I did. After the movie we came back to the villa and started getting ready for bed because it was pretty late when we got back. Most of us chilled in the living room and we were all playing the logo quiz. We all had so much today and I know we are going to have lots more the rest of the week. We miss and love you all back home and can’t wait to see you.
Hey everybody back home, this is Nathan and Meredith. First off, we had a great flight down here (even though Meredith’s ears don’t like landing) and were stunned by how gorgeous the island is. The heat isn’t as bad as we had anticipated, but it is still very hot. Friday after we landed and were picked up we got some authentic Jamaican food (Wendy’s). The exchange rate for money is very difficult to adjust to ($600 for a cheeseburger at Wendy’s) but we’re getting there.
After we ate we went to Bogue Village, where Bay Life Baptist Church is, and distributed tracts and information about the church’s showing of Courageous this Sunday night. The people were very receptive and friendly. It was funny how open everyone was to people showing up to their door to talk. We passed out literature for about 45 minutes then headed into the city.While there we visited a shop owned by a “true Jamaican” as Pastor Titus called her. I’ll let Meredith tell a little more about her.
Her name was aunt Dolly and she was so kind and welcoming. First she told us that our presence was a present to her. We shopped a little and Skimpy, Jt, and I were trying on hats trying to act Jamaican, but our true colors were showing. As we were getting ready to leave aunt Dolly gathered everybody together and shared the songs that was dear to her heart. It opened my eyes. I asked myself why can’t the rest of us Christians be as fired up for the Lord as her because we are in a better situation than her. It is crazy how she stays fired up for the Lord even in bad situations and we want to give up in them.
It would take far too much time and space to write of everything that has gone on so far. After visiting with aunt Dolly we came back to get settled into the Villa, our home for the week. It is a comfortable stay, especially after 8 when the air conditioning comes on.
Today we got up fairly early to go to a church deeper into Jamaica, away from all the tourist attractions. On the way we saw a lot of livestock in the mountains and experienced some very interesting roads. At the church we painted most of the inside of the main auditorium and a couple of walls outside. Meredith played cricket with some of the children while others played some soccer. The kids were incredible, they just came out to see what we were up to. Many of them stayed a while and chatted with people while we were working. The painting was tough work but thankfully we were inside most of the day.
This afternoon we went to Doctor’s Cave Beach. The water and beach were incredible. Several of us went out snorkeling which was absolutely stunning. There were fish and coral everywhere for as far out as we could go. The others enjoyed the cool water and the Caribbean sun.
As we are writing this most everyone is enjoying the time at the Villa. Tomorrow we will be ministering at Bay Life and covet your prayers (Meredith is nervous about giving her testimony). The trip so far has been wonderful and we will not soon forget it.
Thank you for your prayers,
Nathan and Meredith
P.S. I want to thank God for helping me through my trials. I have grown stronger in my walk in the Lord and I learned that no matter where I am in life I know my Lord is with me and He will never leave me or forsake me. I also want to shout out to my Parents who I love very much. I would not be here if it was not for you. Thanks for your patience and encouragement throughout this year. – Meredith
Thanks Mama and Daddy for your thoughts and prayers. We are having a great time. Happy anniversary as well. Love you – Nathan
So, it has finally hit me that we are leaving for Jamaica this Friday morning with our team for our mission trip. This trip has crept up on us considering we have been so busy up to this point. I could not be more stoked though to be going with the team that we have assembled. 22 students and leaders will be going to minister at Bay Life Baptist Church. We will be ministering in 3 public schools, a local church, a deaf home, and several more projects while there. It is going to be an intense week of ministry and work as we try to reach Jamaica with the Gospel. I want you to pray for our team as we leave. Pray for safety, but also pray that God would change our hearts, and use us to further His work in Jamaica and around the world with the Gospel.
[Question] Are you taking your students on a mission trip this summer? If so, where, and what are you planning on doing?
I went to pizza hut with Brian Baker. Brian is a Word of Life local missionary. Brian has been a huge encouragement and help to me in my new ministry at Union Grove. I love hanging with guys, like myself, are interested in students and what is reaching students. Brian is extremely passionate about students and building healthy relationships with them. One major discussion was how to develop student leaders within the student ministry. This is one of the most important, but most difficult things to do in student ministry. We began throwing ideas and discussing what other guys’ are saying. Here are some of things that came to our minds while discussing this:
1. Spend time discipling specifically at least 1 student a week. We need to be being discipled by someone at all times, but always using our time and resources to disciple students below us as well.
2. Keep them accountable. Accountability is needed at every stage in life. Keep them just as accountable as your adult leaders in the student ministry.
3. Train them. All student leaders need time with training. Put resources in their hands to read that will help develop their skills and help them become a better leader. Take them to conferences that will challenge them to become a better leader for Christ.
4. Model leadership for them. Students need to see us modeling it for them. Paul said in Scripture, “follow me as I follow Christ.” This is how student ministry should be run. They should be following us (student pastors) as we follow Christ. Perhaps the problem the student ministry has in developing student leaders is their youth pastor is not setting the example for them to follow.