PRE-IYC MISSIONS EXPERIENCES
While the “weather outside is frightful,” the reality is that many youth ministry leaders are already in full summer-planning mode! As we work on those plans, one of the biggest questions we often ask is “What can I do to create opportunities for my students to experience spiritual growth during our summer trips?” Wrestling with the question in the early stages of planning can prove to be beneficial come June, July, and August.
With this question in mind, one of the ways that I have been able to capitalize on the overall goal of IYC (to create a moment for life change) has been to organize a pre-IYC mission trip for my students. We have found that by getting our students together for three to five days leading in to IYC for a local mission project has done wonders for our group.
In the past, we have built our pre-IYC mission experience around the idea that we can serve in our own community, not just around the country or around the world. We connected with local organizations (The Salvation Army, food banks, homeless shelters, retirement communities, nursing homes, etc.) and asked them how we could serve them during a specific week. From these contacts, we were able to create a full schedule for our students!
Service projects provide our students with opportunities to connect with each other and with local organizations they can serve regularly while also paving the way spiritually for Christ to move in their lives before, during and after IYC.
For more information about organizing a pre-IYC mission experience, e-mail Adam at Adam.R@myfirstchurch.com.
IYC has a long-standing partnership with Lead 222 to help provide pre-IYC mission experiences in the IYC host cities. For more information about the experience offered in Indianapolis in 2018, go to www.iyc2018.org and click on the pre-IYC missions tab.
Adam Rentas is a Youth Ministry Team member and serves as lead youth pastor at First Church of God in St. Joseph, Michigan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.