Coaching

Finding Last Minute Mission Ideas

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One of our biggest obstacles in summer planning is the time commitment from students. Between vacations, camps, and work, students are pretty busy in the summer. They want to get involved, but don’t always have the time.

As we were planning few years ago we were looing for that one thing to add the finishing touch to our summer. The thing that would pull it all together. All our “big rocks” were in place (camps and mission trips). But there was still no place for the busy student to get involved. We had to do something new.

Our criteria for this new thing was three fold:
1) Small time requirement (on the students or on us to plan)
2) Inexpensive
3) Big impact (on our students and our community)

With these criteria in mind, we came up with an idea we called “Mission Mondays.” Each Monday from 9-12 we would find a small, inexpensive project that would make a huge impact. What we learned from pulling these weekly mission projects together will help anyone looking for a last minute mission.

1. Mission at the Home Base

Ask your church leadership what needs done that keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the list. We painted the yellow curbs, pressure washed sidewalks, and painted rooms. (And we all know that there is always some closet that needs cleaning and organizing.)

This is a great way for students to see the larger picture of what goes into keeping a church running. Our students have even seen parts of the church building they didn’t know existed!

2. Mission in the Next Pew 

Some of the best last minute missions we have done have been through our congregation. We have done yard work, painted houses, and repaired decks. There is someone in your congregation who needs the able bodies and love your students have.

Working with your congregation will build relationships that may never happen. There is nothing better than seeing a 70-year-old man show a 7th grader how to use a riding lawn mower! (I have a picture of this if you can use it)  All you need to do is make some phone calls or (if you’re ready for the avalanche of opportunities) announce it on Sunday morning.

3. Mission Next Door 

Start here by looking for existing ministries in your area. We have worked with thrift stores (our 7th grade boys love this one!), done art at children’s homes, and did a slip and slide for foster kids. You can also check with your City Manager and local Housing Authority. Through them, we have repaired windows, worked at the Food Bank, and done backyard VBS.

By working with your community, your students will begin to see the needs that exist around them everyday. We have seen students go back to the nursing home on their own!

Summer is fast approaching! Get excited, get creative, and get out there. Go serve!

Marc is the Director of Youth Ministries at Auburn United Methodist Church. He is married to Shay and have two daughters, Reid and Jenny. You can usually find him doing my daughters' hair, playing with play dough, or changing diapers. When he is not chasing them around, he likes lifting weights and riding bikes.

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