Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

On Feb. 1 youth groups around the world will be going on a two-week missions trip—from the comfort of their homes.

Through his online missions trip, Tim Schmoyer is encouraging young people to evangelize their generation via social networking Web sites such as Facebook, MySpace and World of Warcraft.

“Missions doesn’t have to be limited to a summer trip where you raise lots of money and go somewhere for two weeks and then come home,” said Schmoyer, pastor of student ministries at Evangelical Covenant Church of Alexandria in Alexandria, Minn. “Missions is an everyday thing, and with the power of the Internet it’s never been as easy as it is today to go across the world and talk to someone for free.”

Schmoyer said young people already spend a great deal of time on the Web, so he’s encouraging them to use that time to share Christ with their friends. An estimated 2,500 teens and young adults from Canada, Bermuda, the United Kingdom, Australia, Indonesian and the United States have registered at onlinemissionstrip.com to participate in the outreach. More than 1,500 students also have joined the Online Missions Trip Facebook group.

Students are being urged to use thought-provoking videos, photos, instant messages and text messages as a means to start conversations about God. “I want these kids to grow up being comfortable having those spiritual conversations with their friends … not just expecting that it’s the church’s job,” Schmoyer said.

A graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, Schmoyer has long been “discontent” with the ineffective results of youth group outreaches. He said most consist of a church putting on a concert, inviting a popular guest speaker and telling the students to bring their unsaved friends. “I think it was unintentionally teaching our kids to outsource their evangelism to someone on a stage,” he said.

Schmoyer hopes the online missions trip will not only result in decisions for Christ, but that it will cause young people to realize that it is their responsibility to witness to their friends, not their pastors’.

In the weeks leading up to the missions trip, students will be learning techniques for sharing Christ with their friends. Posted on the ministry’s Web site is evangelism-training material for youth groups, along with books and videos that teach students how to witness to people from various religious backgrounds. The Web site also details a discipleship process for the students who accept Christ during the outreach.

Though Schmoyer says the Web resources are helpful, he says the most important and overlooked tool on the site is the 24-hour prayer section. “Any life change that takes place is totally and only the result of the Holy Spirit working in someone’s life,” he said. “I think the key … way that happens is by just saturating this entire trip in prayer.”

Schmoyer is asking for volunteers to sign up to pray for the trip, in hopes that there will be people praying 24 hours a day for the entire two weeks. Youth groups nationwide are also urging their students to make prayer a major focus of their missions preparation. “We will be encouraging students to concentrate on praying for four or five of their friends leading up and during this trip,” said Shawn M. Shoup, student pastor at Destiny Foursquare Church in Rapid City, S.D. “Our students will be plowing the ground spiritually … sending out prayer support letters, fasting and praying in preparation.”

Schmoyer said he is praying that the missions trip will not end on Feb. 14, but that it will inspire youth to make evangelism part of their everyday lives: “Hopefully their mindsets will start to shift, that they would develop lifestyles that are sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading as they engage with unbelievers throughout the rest of their lives.” [charismamag.com, 1/23/09]

 

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Discouragement can be a serious struggle.

    Guard Your Spirit Against These 4 Crippling Attacks

    Are you struggling this Valentine's Day with one of these discouraging issues?

  • Worship leaders, keep your team's attitude in check.

    This Can Quickly Erode a Worship Team's Culture

    God has given us talent and He calls for excellence, but excellence with this is not honoring ...

  • A 'What's in it for me?' mentality could bring your church down.

    The Mentality That May Be Killing Your Church

    And we wonder why so many congregations are stagnated, plateaued or declining.

  • Why Many Christians Misunderstand This Crucial Leadership Trait

    Great leadership doesn't start with a great education, although that is incredibly valuable. ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • What reasons can you think of that leaders might not choose to delegate authority?

    7 Reasons Some Leaders Dump Delegation

    These could have a lot to do with stalled growth and low team morale.

  • Your Source of Unlimited Kingdom Energy and Power

    Jesus said that we can do greater works than He did and that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

  • Don't bring your sermons in for a crash landing.

    4 Terrible Ways to Close a Sermon

    People need an opportunity to respond to the Word of God.

  • These seven responses can get you on the right track.

    Responding Like Jesus When Your Church Kicks You Out

    It's a pain that many in the ministry have felt at least once and maybe more.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders