The transformation started a couple years ago, roughly two years into our adventure that we call, Youthmark. At that time I knew already that the organization that I had founded was going to look dramatically different than it did then. I loved what I was doing and we were already experiencing a nice season of growth but I knew that increase was not going to be sustainable if something didn’t give. I knew steps would need to be taken for Youthmark to evolve and for it to remain manageable. I just didn’t know which steps to take. So we grew…
- 24 teams our first year.
- 40 teams our second year.
- 53 churches partnered with us last year.
It was never my intention for Youthmark to be a Short Term Missions organization. I knew I wanted STMs to be part of what we did, but it was becoming everything that we were doing.
My heart and my passion has always been the 51 weeks of life outside the mission trip. I LOVE coaching leaders to be shepherds all the time. A mission trip is typically just one week, but it can/should be one-part culmination of the year and one-part catalyst for what is ahead. But the reality is most Youth Pastors are still doing mission trips because of the trip itself. Whether they go with a turn-key organization (sign-up/show-up and everything is led by org) do a trip on their own (typically go to a church-supported missionary) or something in between, very few were/are doing anything in the area of preparation and follow through.
This is where I feel Youthmark can and should have the biggest influence in the area of short-term missions. But with growth and demand I saw the ministry was becoming more and more about managing trips and less about vision casting, training, inspiring and follow-through. Simply because of demand, I was spending more of my own time on “i” dotting and “t” crossing of trips and less time on Mission51.
I believe the time is now! Change is in the air. As an organization we are moving forward within our area of passion. This re-focus will include:
- Partnerships with other STM organizations
- Expanded resource catalog in product, resources and services
- More time in area of personal passion/giftedness!
I’m stoked about what is ahead and can’t wait to share more on this blog! Your prayers are appreciated as much groundwork has already been done but there is much more ahead!