What if your best ideas and trips with your middle school students revolved around short term local missions – where you and your students and even families all went and served in your city? What would happen if the middle school students in your church were known for serving in their community?

Many of us who are in ministry got our first taste of ministry by going on a mission trip. When I was 18, I went on a mission trip to the Philippines. It was an amazing, awesome, life-changing experience. I learned first-hand how God could use me, and I developed a passion to reach the lost. That was when I committed my life to serve God in full-time vocational ministry and later
that turned out to be as a middle school pastor. And I am so blessed!

For a lot of students, families and churches, planning an oversees mission trip might not work for middle school students. However, a local mission trip is more financially feasible and something your ministry can add to every quarterly calendar. When I think of a local mission, it could be anything that your group can do to serve and reach others.

Here are three reasons why doing local missions is great for middle school students:

Developing spiritual gifts

Missions give students opportunities to do ministry, allowing them to see how God has wired them, and how God has a purpose for them. Learning the gift of serving others is the greatest Christ-like attribute that any of us can learn. All Christians are called to do God’s work – to be God’s light in the darkness of a lost world. Middle school students will receive joy as they give joy to others.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in
advance for us to do.”

Allow students to get outside of themselves and see people through God’s eyes God calls us to serve others, help the poor, reach the lost, and to love others. Local mission opportunities should give students a chance to get outside of their normal routine and open their eyes to the needs of the world around them.

Philippians 2:3-4
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Put feet to their faith

Spiritual growth happens when you put action to your faith. It allows students to experience the joy of serving, the joy of life change, and the joy of seeing God use them to do great things.

Matthew 7:24
Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Every time my group does local missions it turns out to not only be the most life-changing, but also the most fun thing we do. So, it’s a win, win and win! Everybody wins and God is glorified.

– Scott Pittman

Discussion Questions:
1. What local mission activities have you done with your students?
2. What are some of the needs of people in your city and in your church?
3. What are some of the best serving ideas you have done with your students?

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