Why my youth group is going back to Haiti this fall and spring

Church To Church in HaitiIt’s only been a couple weeks since we returned from Haiti and already we’re planning our next trip back, most likely in October.

It’s becoming clear to me that short-term missions is one of the most powerful ways to do discipleship that has long-term life-transformation condensed into a short, but impactful, period of time. It’s basically following Jesus’ model of discipleship by traveling with teens to do ministry as you teach and model for them them what discipleship is all about. (Note: there’s a difference between missions trips and work projects. I’m talking about missions trips.)

Because of that, it seems to me that, not only should we be doing more mission trips, but we should also be pushing more resources toward it than we do. Since my church’s fiscal year starts July 1, I recently proposed reallocating over half of my youth group’s budget toward two trips to Haiti next year, which will probably be approved.

Listen to the testimonies and stories from the adults and teens on our last trip to Haiti. It explains why.

I’ve also learned that there is tremendous value in doing church-wide missions trips rather than just youth group trips. When parents, adults, grandparents, siblings and college students all come together to serve, something incredible happens and the impact is far greater than if it’s just a group of teens with a couple adult leaders.

Church To Church program

You can also get involved by participating in Adventures In Mission’s Church To Church program, an opportunity to partner with a church in Haiti for prayer, encouragement, rebuilding, and even trips to lend helping hands. In fact, Mark Oestreicher, Doug Pagitt, Seth Barnes, and others have formed a team are going back to Haiti next week to finalize the Church To Church program. They’re also trying to raise $35,000 to fund the salaries of a few Haitian leaders for the next three years who will lead and mobilize the effort on the Haitian side, thus impacting even more churches and communities for many years to come.

You can follow their trip on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted on May 20, 2010

  • Just curious how you define the difference between work-projects and mission trips? Since I'm in charge of the TIMS work camps at CRC and it's missions minded but yet consists of work projects I was just curious to get your thoughts on the two and if you think the two can be combined as we're doing here through TIMS?

    • Dana's been on about 8 missions trips and she said this was the first trip she's ever been on where we actually told people about Jesus and prayed for people. She said all her other missions trips growing up were mostly building houses and sightseeing. Although they sometimes talked about Bible stories through VBS to children or something, the gospel was not clearly presented. Work was the main focus of the trip, not telling people about a saving relationship with Jesus. That's when we decided that there's a difference between work projects and missions trips. Building a house for someone is great, but that won't save anyone nor introduce them to a relationship with Jesus. The only way they can know about Him is to actually talk with them about Jesus and share the gospel.

      I think the difference between missions trip and work project is the focus: is it to build something/fix something or is it to tell people about Jesus and disciple them in their faith? You can obviously build something and use it as a tool to connect with other people who need Jesus, but is that the focus? Or is the focus to construct a building? Which would define a "successful" trip?

      Doing both is fine as long as the focus is to share Christ and disciple believers.

      • Awesome! I totally agree with you. This is why when I took on the TIMS program it's been my goal to keep what we do Christ-centered. Our mission statement is simple: "The physical work is secondary to the primary spiritual work of the gospel." As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter to me if a job doesn't get completed as long as we're sharing the gospel first.

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