We’ve taken our older kids on short-term mission trips and hope to go on more. They’ve served locally. We support missionaries. We want our kids to be open to wherever God calls them and incorporating missions into our small-town life is one way we, as parents, have hoped to teach that.
I’m incredibly thankful our church – Hardin Baptist Church – comes alongside us with the same message. The middle and high school youth spent the summer looking at different aspects of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. Youth minister Chase Bright spent the last Sunday of the series looking at nine practical ways that students – yes, even middle and high schoolers – could participate in and pray about going for God.
Chase shared these 9 Ways to Go with students’ parents, and I asked him for permission to share them with you because even as an adult I want to remember to live on mission – even right where I am.
In his final marching orders to his disciples, Jesus beckons all of his followers to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). Today, we refer to these last words as The Great Commission.
In my experience with students, they want to be faithful to this Great Commission. Many of them are passionate about the gospel being spread to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8), and they want to play a role in this high calling and participate in what God is doing across the globe. Many times, however, they don’t have a very good idea as to where to start. They need something practical. To that end, it’s my aim to provide nine brief yet practical ways for students to “go,” if not now then in the very near future.
It’s my hope and prayer that students and families would prayerfully consider what God may have them do both now and in the future in order to proclaim the gospel and make disciples among all the nations of the earth.
1. Share the Gospel HERE & NOW
You don’t have to be in another culture to make disciples. All followers of Christ are called to make disciples wherever God has us now by sharing the gospel with the people around us. A great way to do this is to “Find your One” and commit to praying and sharing with that person. Who’s Your One?
2. Short-Term Mission Trips
Each summer our high school students get the opportunity to go on short-term mission trips through our church. Take advantage of these great opportunities. Be on the lookout for any information about short-term mission trips our student ministry will be taking.
(Note from Kristin: These students went to Chicago this summer and my 15-year-old Cate had a great experience outside her comfort zone serving and sharing. Here’s my post about that.)
3. The Radical Gap Year
After graduating high school, you can take a “gap year” before you begin college or your career for the sake of disciple-making and figuring out what God may be calling you to do in the future to make his glory known among the nations. The Radical Gap Year is an amazing way to do this.
4. Theological Education
How about going to a Christian college or theological seminary that will intentionally equip you to go on mission and equip others in the local church to do the same? There are so many great options that will prepare you to do this. Here are just a few:
- The College at Southeastern (Undergraduate)
- Boyce College (Undergraduate)
- Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Graduate/Seminary)
- The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Graduate/Seminary)
5. GenSend – Summer Missions
Even as a youth student, you can already begin to think and pray about how you might spend your college summers and breaks. Why not spend them on mission? GenSend, through the North American Mission Board, is a great option for you to be able to do this.
6. Go2 – Give 2 Years
After you graduate college, what if you spent the first two years in a big, strategic North American city while beginning your career, serving with a church plant, and working to further advance the gospel? Check out Go2, also through North American Mission Board, and begin praying through what this may look like for you.
7. IMB Journeyman Program
Similar to Go2, the IMB Journeyman Program is for recent college graduates or young adults who desire to spend two years on missions. IMB Journeymen are sent internationally (as opposed to domestically) to strategic nations around the globe. On top of that, IMB Journeymen are fully-funded!
8. Full-Time Missionary
May God be calling you to be a full-time missionary? What about a church planter? You don’t have to wait to start praying and seeking where or how God might send you in the future. You can start NOW!
There are so many ways you can be a missionary or church planter. Here are just a few ways that you can begin to research and pray about:
- Be sent by your local church.
- Be sent through mission sending agencies such as the International Mission Board or the North American Mission Board.
9. Careers for Missions
Teacher. Nurse. Farmer. Businessman. These are but a few of the career occupations you might find yourself doing in the future. But what if you pursued these careers somewhere else, like in a place with little to no gospel presence? Start thinking about what career you might want to do in the future, and begin praying for where God might have you do this career so that you can further advance the gospel to the nations.
By no means is this list exhaustive. However, I pray that it’s a helpful starting place for many youth students looking for some practical ways they can participate in the Great Commission by going.
To God alone be the glory!
Chase Bright serves on staff at Hardin Baptist Church in Hardin, Kentucky, and as a theology teacher at New Covenant Christian Academy. He also is an MDiv student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Kaitlyn, have two children.