5 Most Impactful Youth Mission Trips
Posted in Youth Ministry |

5 Most Impactful Youth Mission Trips

Many youth pastors and leaders have had a number of mission trip experiences either as a student or as a leader, so who better to ask about which ones have been the most impactful? Mission Work in a "Big City" Youth Summer Camp Mission Trip to Alaska International Mission Trip Local Mission Trips Bonus: Words of Advice Mission Work in a “Big City” Cities across the country are often laden with individuals and families who struggle to make ends meet – many who don’t even have a home. Taking part in a mission trip in a large city can be a real eye-opener… Read More

Don’t be Afraid of the Big Ideas
Posted in Serve |

Don’t be Afraid of the Big Ideas

Do you ever feel too small for your big ideas? God loves to use people who don’t seem important enough to do his most important work. Consider these examples from the Bible: Elijah- He spent some serious time in prayer and it changed the weather for THREE YEARS! You know the weather, that thing everyone acknowledges is totally out of our control... Elijah affected it through the power of prayer and he was just a guy like us. “17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on… Read More

Concentrated Impact
Posted in Serve |

Concentrated Impact

by Brian Bierenga Take a minute and recall your last youth leaders' meeting. Perhaps someone suggested, "We should really help our students develop a heart for serving others." Your group agreed and assigned people to investigate service options, check calendars with kids and parents, gather supplies and arrange transportation. Once that was done, your leadership team worked hard to publicize and promote a one-day event, tout it at several youth meetings and recruit as many students as possible. After the event, your team agrees that several service days over the summer would be better,… Read More

SERVE – Sweeter By the Year
Posted in Serve |

SERVE – Sweeter By the Year

You should know that each host team for SERVE works nearly year-round to prepare for the week-long SERVE experience. So when the students and their leaders begin to walk through the doors on those warm Saturday afternoons, there is no feeling quite like the joy we have to welcome them! Prairie SERVE out here in Sioux City/Sergeant Bluff, Iowa just wrapped up its third year. Each SERVE experience is unique and memorable, to be sure, but as a host team member, I can honestly say Prairie SERVE gets sweeter by the year. The temperatures were high this year, but the joy of the Lord as… Read More

Now I Know
Posted in Serve |

Now I Know

by Tim Ryan Director of Junior High Ministries West Shore Evangelical Free Church The following is an excerpt from our Winter 2016 Magazine. To view the whole magazine, click here. I was blessed with the opportunity to take a group of senior high student mentors and special needs students to the Fruitland Special Needs Serve in July. As a youth pastor, I've had many opportunities to take students on mission trips, but I've never experienced anything quite like a Special Needs Serve! First, we experienced the embrace of the entire church family. I was personally blown away by… Read More

A Look Back at Brighton Serve 2015
Posted in Serve |

A Look Back at Brighton Serve 2015

The following is a reflection on Brighton Serve 2015 by Linda Jeronimus: “As the Father has sent me, so I send  you.  Receive now the Holy Spirit.” John 20:21b Our church responded “Here I am (we are) Lord." From prayer shawl makers, prayer partners, kitchen help, worksite volunteers, creative Gems, encouraging words, those who donated food and items needed to make our church home to 40 youth and leaders, to the sound and overhead booth experts, the clean up crews, the tech savvy, drivers, financial help, to the host team planners, what an amazing church response!… Read More

After Serve – The Other 51
Posted in Serve |

After Serve – The Other 51

What do people experience after Serve? A lot of people who go on Serve find that they are: 1. More thankful for what they have and want to be more generous with it. After meeting people with great needs and seeing God as the Provider we need to practice giving thanks in all circumstances and giving all we have back to him. 2. Quicker to pray about just about everything. Be ready for the Holy Spirit to prompt you and be obedient. You might have had a very close connection to God on Serve – keep it by praying without ceasing. 3. Emotional about worship and changed lives. Fan the… Read More

We All Need to Love – The Other 51
Posted in Serve |

We All Need to Love – The Other 51

The following is an excerpt from the student's devotions in our 2015 theme material at Live It and Serve this summer. Diane grew up in what others would consider a Christian home. Diane’s family; two older brothers, mom, dad and Diane, went to church every Sunday – twice, but some things were well hidden in that home. Diane was bullied since she was a young girl by one of her brothers. Her parents found out and made sure it was kept quiet. They just walked through the motions of life. Diane struggled in school socially. She had only a handful of friends and trusted no one. Called… Read More

A New Attitude in Missions
Posted in Serve |

A New Attitude in Missions

I love mission trips and service projects! In forty years of youth ministry, I have been on close to 100 of them. What’s not to love? We get to obey God’s command to minister to the “least of these.” We travel and experience different cultures as we meet new people, make new friends, and strengthen the unity of the youth group. We come home excited, blessed, and ready to live fully for Christ. It’s all good, right? Well...maybe not. Experts are discovering that one barrier to effective ministry is that sometimes our good intentions and well-meaning help can actually harm… Read More

Coming Home from Mission Trips – Now What?
Posted in Serve |

Coming Home from Mission Trips – Now What?

In last week’s blog entry, Jerry Meadows wrote about prepping students for missions and questioned how they might integrate a missions experience into their daily lives once suitcases were unpacked. It is the hope of most youth leaders that students come away from a mission trip having grown a deeper understanding of their faith, a deeper sense of self and others, and a greater understanding of God’s call on their lives to be agents of justice in the world around them. Yes, some incredible outcomes are hoped for here. We cannot, of course, assume students will easily… Read More

Prepping Students for Missions
Posted in Serve |

Prepping Students for Missions

When asked about my favorite mission trip, I always say the next one. As a Youth and Family Pastor, I took my school students to places across North America, Mexico, and even to Vietnam. Later, while at CURE International, I became close friends with nationals in 11 countries (including Afghanistan, the UAE, and several African and Latin American countries) learning from them what helped and hurt their long-term ministries in short term missions. Since I oversee Serve, people naturally think I help churches plan student mission trips. Close, but not quite. At Youth Unlimited, we are… Read More

Preparing Ourselves for Short Term Missions
Posted in Serve |

Preparing Ourselves for Short Term Missions

Over the past year, various people from youth ministry backgrounds have offered their collective voices to the content of this Youth Ministry Network blog. We hope you have found it to be helpful and encouraging. For April we will continue the conversation but have invited some new voices to the page. The spring and summer months are often filled with teens and their leaders heading off to “far away” or “just down the street” places where youth and leaders alike are stretched physically and spiritually as they embark on journeys typically called “Short Term” mission… Read More