I was a youth pastor for eight years at Suncoast Baptist Church in Port Charlotte, FL. During that time, one of my most famous lines was: “I have the coolest job in the world.”
I was wrong.
I actually had the second coolest job in the world.
Now, I have the coolest job in the world.
In August, I began working at the BBFI Missions Office as an Associate Director of (what I like to call) Next Generation Missions. One of my roles here is to study the current trends of young people who surrender their lives to Missions. Research between different mission agencies reveals that about 50% of missionaries surrendered their lives to go to the mission field because of some kind of experience with missions while they were students. In other words, if past generations were not helping their young people experience missions whether through biographies, face to face interaction, or mission trips, or other youth focused mission events, then there would be 50% less missionaries on the field today than we currently have.
In our modern world we are more globally connected than ever before. According to the New York Times, teenagers spend on average more than 7 hours online each day. This means that our young people are more connected to the world than ever before. The question is, why are more and more students neither interested in missions nor surrendering their lives to go to the mission field? I believe that this is because while students are more connected to the world than ever before, many of them are less connected to the mission field than ever before. With a decline in reading and an increase in media entertainment, fewer students are reading missionary biographies than in the past. With fewer services in many churches today, fewer students are coming face to face with missionaries and being challenged by them to go to the mission field. With an economic recession over the last several years and with global unrest, fewer students are going on intentional mission trips around the world. Because of these reasons and many others, we are seeing fewer and fewer students surrender their lives to go to the mission field each year.
This must change.
How does it change? I believe it is a simple answer. Our teenagers need to consistently experience missions. They need to hear about mission in church and in their youth group. They need to get to know missionaries by connecting with them through social media and other forms of communication. Our young people need to learn more about missions to gain a burden for lost souls around the world. Our students need to see and experience the field with intentionality, so that they will be more likely to follow the Lord’s leading to the field.
We must put missions before their eyes, and when they see it and experience it, they will often go.
Matthew 9:38 reminds us to pray that the Lord will send more Laborers into the field. We must pray for our young people and encourage them to consider going to the mission field.
The BBFI Missions Office is more serious about accomplishing this task than ever before. We believe that we can change the current trends in regards to our young people and missions. We believe that surrendering ones life to share the Gospel with lost souls around the world is one of the greatest adventures on the planet. We also believe that if students experience the power and work of God through current missionaries and their works on the field, then they will be very interested in going themselves.
We are excited about making a difference in the world with the Gospel and using the next generation, their passion, creativity, and energy to accomplish greater things than we ever have seen in the past.
If you are interested in getting involved with our task, then please contact me and lets get to work!