THE ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGE MINISTRIES BLOG
Mission Trips are a big part of what our ministries do throughout the year. They give students great opportunities to serve and experience other cultures and customs, and we all know that a road trip anywhere will build community, right?! A few years ago, all of our “go-to” trips fell through and we started looking for other opportunities to serve that would also meet the goals of our ministry.
We wanted to offer a variety of opportunities that would fit the different needs of students….evangelistic opportunities, relief work, prayer trips, and service trips are just a few of the types of mission trips you might be considering. Maybe you’re needing some fresh ideas, or just want to hear what other ministries are doing. Here are just a few ideas from our experience at the University of Illinois Springfield and some other ACM members:
Gretchen Magruder, University of Illinois Springfield
Panama City Beach Florida – beach evangelism - BEACHREACH
“BeachReach is a mission trip experience where servant evangelism takes the form of free van rides and pancakes.”
A little unorthodox, this Spring Break trip gives our students great opportunities to share their faith with partying Spring Breakers. We found this to be an excellent evangelism training ground with our students. They would talk to a van load of people, drop them off at their destination, and then we were able to say “okay, how did those conversations go? What could you have done differently? How do you think you could move the conversation deeper?” and then we’d pick up the next load and try again.
Mexico/Guatamala - www.casasporcristo.org
For decades, campus ministries have been going to Juarez, Mexico to build houses. Casas now has at least 2 other locations where teams can build, providing the materials and the labor for a family’s home. It’s a great opportunity to get out of the country…barely…and leave with a tangible result.
Russia/Peru - www.nmsi.org
In addition to the summer internships they recruit for, NMSI also puts together short-term trips for groups. Partnering with a long-term missionary on the field, groups get good pre-field training and de-briefing from the NMSI staff. Working with a sending organization like NMSI (or CMF, or Team Expansion…) also gives our students a connection for future opportunities, perhaps as an intern or a full-time missionary.
Rob Schrumpf, Purdue University
The last few years we have worked with Literacy Evangelism International (LEI) in the DR and Guatemala which focuses on teaching both native languages and English primarily through use of the Bible text. Our students were able to witness, not only people reading Scripture for the first time, but also people coming to know Jesus as a result of what they were reading. We also took another engineering team who worked with nationals to build an L-Press, a contraption they designed that turns agricultural waste into fuel briquettes.
Local Mission Trip
We wanted our students to realize the need that exists locally, so we did a week mission trip to Lafayette, Indiana where each day focused on a different issue / need, such as the homeless and poor, vulnerable women and children, and the needs of international students and immigrants. It was an eye-opening week that has led to ongoing engagement.
Ukraine - www.cmf.org
We partnered with IU CSF last May for a trip to Berdyansk where we worked with a couple from CSF named Jonathan & Heather Powell. The trip had two goals: the building up and encouragement of the church and reaching out to the unchurched in the city. We did a training retreat with local churches and outreach events at schools and on the streets.
Adam Caldwell, Indiana State University
Center for Student Missions - http://www.csm.org
CSF at Indiana State has taken a handful of urban mission trips with the Center for Student Missions (Chicago Location). I have appreciated having opportunities to serve alongside several different ministries working in the inner city during each trip, and our students have gotten to experience various ways of serving the poor and sharing Christ through it. CSM also does a great job of immersing students in the cultures that they are serving in.
Of course, this doesn’t even scratch the surface of mission trip opportunities available to your students. Have a trip you feel really produces great results? Is there an organization you think is doing a fantastic job? We’d love to hear about it. If you’re looking for opportunities with your students, ask around the ACM – - there is a deep well of wisdom and experience to learn from!