Honduras 2010 was a phenomenal week in the lives of our 9/10th grade students at Woodstock. What started out as a long and arduous preparation process (October 2009 through March 2010), culminated in a life changing week. Nearly half our team experienced their first international mission trip. I remember my first international trip. It left an unalterable mark on my life. To this day, I can’t take a hot shower without thinking of a week in Mexico sleeping on a concrete floor with a slow drip, cold shower. I believe Honduras 2010 has left the same mark for many of our students as well.
Parents, you would be ultra proud of these students. They prepared well and performed even better. This past week fifty-seven of our 9/10th grade students and adults pushed back the darkness and advanced the Gospel to the nations. The reality of Matthew 24:14 being fulfilled in this generation inched closer this week. Thank you for entrusting your son or daughter to our team for a week to the nations.
Adults, I am amazed. A Student Pastor can’t lead effectively without leaders like you. You lead by example. You fight through the tough stuff. You love in spite of. You see the vision and carry it. I love you and I’m deeply grateful to God for you! Thanks for your investment this past week!
A few summary thoughts from this week:
1) The raw enthusiasm of students can change the world (and make Youth Pastors go crazy at the same time)
Lila & Shannen
Student ministry has the unique challenge of channeling the roller coaster of emotions, enthusiasm, passion, desire, and naivety of students towards the Gospel. In a week of international missions, we have essentially drawn up the bumper lanes for students to march forward with the Gospel. It’s amazing how our students rose to the challenge. Every presentation found our students eager to take the Gospel to students in one on one conversations…even after five days of ministry and all the loss of sleep. The Gospel was a motivator. Seeing students come to Christ was an encourager. It was almost a personal competition within each student to see how many students they could share the Gospel with and beg to come to Jesus. In total, there were 1134 recorded decisions this week!
2) What if?
Here are a few what if? questions that I’ve been rolling over in my head for several weeks. This past week shed light on a few of the answers for me in programming student ministry.
- What if a student spent four years in high school ministry but decided in the fifth year they no longer wanted their faith or the church?
- What if a high school student was prepared biblically and theologically for most any challenge?
- What if parents were intimately involved in their student’s spiritual life?
- What if 50% of Southern Baptist Churches launched just one graduating senior to a Global Missions Year just once in the next four years? How many more when other denominations are factored in?
- What if middle school and high school students had an intentional plan to prepare for a Global Missions Year following the first year after high school?
- What if every spiritually maturing (the qualifier being maturing not mature) high school student took at least one international mission trip during high school.
The answers to many of these questions leads me to the next observation…
3) Could this be the generation?
When Jesus describes the end of days in Matthew 24, we observe that nearly all has been fulfilled except verse 14. The Gospel will go to all ethne…every people…and then the end will come. The world is flat and access to areas that seemed impossible before are now more possible than ever. The use of cell phones and internet can never replace human relationship but who knows how the Gospel will penetrate those yet unreached areas. I am convinced though, that students will play a primary role in fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy. Nearly 45% of the world’s population is under age 24. After a week in Honduras with students sharing the Gospel with other students, I am more encouraged than ever that students provide the best vehicle for Matthew 24:14 to be fulfilled.
4) Student ministry is messy and not for everybody
The dots were connected this week for me in regards to why it’s difficult to get adults, volunteers, and student pastors to stick with Student Ministry…working with students is messy, chaotic, frustrating, and not always containable in neat and clean parts. Student ministry can be a roller coaster. One minute there is an a-ha moment of euphoria when students share and live the Gospel. The next minute you’re wondering how they could be such loud, noisy Americans in the airport despite team trainings and repeated admonitions to be pipe down because people are watching. One thing is sure…it takes a person full of grace and mercy to work with students. Others will throw up their hands in frustration and walk way. I love what I do, but I’m pretty sure this is an area that I need to be challenged.
5) One thing every youth group should do
The fruit of an intentional Gospel bearing mission trip will last a lifetime for many students. The seismic impact of this type of week extends to a much larger sphere of influence in friends, the rest of the youth group, family, relatives, and even school campuses. I would like to hammer this point in a thousand ways. But for now, I’ll allow Nike to encourage my Pastor and Youth Pastor friends…Just Do It.
This mission trip, like most of the other twelve mission trips I’ve participated with in the last thirteen years, have impacted me as much as I’ve impacted a people group. I was stretched. My faith was increased. And, I came home with an increased fear of God, love for my wife and son, and absolute thrill for the place in life God has for me.
God used our 9/10th grade students this week for the advancement of the Kingdom. I’m proud to have been there to see it, and I’m grateful to God for every parent, student, and supporter involved. It was a fantastic trip!
Hey students and adults, let’s do it again next year. What do you say?
Catch up on all the Honduras and Ecuador updates by going here
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