24… 40… 53…
…These numbers likely don’t mean much to the readership, but they were quite startling to me, especially last year when that 53 hit. These numbers represent the number of churches/mission teams Youthmark engaged for the purpose of training and missions in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Though the seed was planted in my mind after the summer of 2010, somewhere around the new year (2012), I began to aggressively change the way I viewed the future of Youthmark. As I have stated in a previous blogpost, it was never my intention for Youthmark to be a Short Term Mission (STM) Organization. My own core conviction is that the entire field of Student Ministry should be our focus. I want to see students, staff, parents and the church improve the way we are ministering to one another and the needs around us. Mission51 (the 51 weeks outside the mission trip) is my passion!
Instead of focussing on the short-term mission, I began to focus on long-term partnerships with those who would be able to carry the load of managing mission trips so that we (at Youthmark) can be focussed on providing materials, strategies, consulting, speaking, etc. for the 51 weeks outside of the mission trip. Even with much of my time focussed outside of the “trip” God still blessed us with a wonderful spring and summer for Youthmark Mission Ventures (close to 50 churches/organizations engaged again).
With that as the backdrop, there are three or four STM organizations who are in discussions with Youthmark to partner with us at some level so that their mission trips can be more than just a trip and begin to really engage participants to be on mission the other 51 weeks of the year as well.
In my next post I’ll introduce you to our first official partner! I believe this partnership will lead to:
- More options for churches and students in the area of mission trips (domestic and international).
- Better (specific trip) training for all engaged in STM’s.
- More tools/training options for Mission51 (ahh yeah, you’ve only seen the beginning)!
- More excitement (and more equipped missionaries) for the 51 weeks outside of the mission trip!
Though the concept is a couple years old, I truly believe Mission51 “the movement” is about to launch!