Leading Youth with Humility

By Katie Weaver, Nov 17, 2014

Before participating in MTW short-term missions trips, Trent Thomas, youth director at Church of the Redeemer in Monroe, N.C., admits, “I had a superiority complex.” He thought he had a good grasp on the best ways to do short-term ministry in various cultures, and was ready to make an impact.

But leading a youth group trip to Cherokee, N.C., last summer and another to Belize a few months ago changed his outlook. “I learned that we aren’t coming to change their world, we are coming to help,” explained Thomas. This is one of the reasons Thomas and Church of the Redeemer have plugged in with MTW for their short-term missions trips. “MTW is committed to letting nationals do ministry; we just assist them,” said Thomas.

The 16-person group from Redeemer joined MTW’s Philip Ajamian and San Jose Presbyterian Church in Corozal, Belize. The team helped the church with construction projects and assisted with their summer VBS for children.

The power of partnership
Thomas’ change of thinking about missions has been both humbling and freeing. “Working with MTW has taught me the importance of connecting with an organization that’s already doing work,” said Thomas. As the team leader, Thomas also felt that serving through MTW was the best use of the team’s time and resources. “We were able to come and be utilized quickly and effectively, and there was no confusion as to what we were doing.”

MTW missionaries in Belize provided a solid structure and direction for the youth trip, while also offering valuable cultural and spiritual lessons. “Our hosts did a great job of encouraging us to be flexible and to have open hands to see what God would give us,” said Thomas. “It was very much a missions trip showered in prayer.”

Making an investment
Church of the Redeemer has sent several teams to Belize over the years, so this summer’s short-term experience was an opportunity for the church to again invest prayer and resources in the country. In addition, the missions trip was an investment by the church in its youth. “This trip revealed to our church that our youth can contribute in ministry,” said Thomas. “It showed them that our youth are serious about their faith.” Just as he has grown and matured through short-term missions experiences, Thomas hopes that Redeemer’s youth will continue to practice humble service and prayerful mindsets in their day-to-day lives back home. He also believes the church as a whole will continue to be encouraged by its connection with MTW missions opportunities.

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Pray that God will give churches a vision to invest in their youth by taking short-term mission trips. Pray that youth would grasp a heart for missions as a result.

Pray for short-term teams to Native American and First Nations tribes to be used of God and to build relationships with tribe members as they serve.

Pray for the Cherokee people and our ministry alongside them.

Pray that we would not give into cynicism regarding ministry among Native Americans, and that God would give us a vision for the expansion of the Native American Church.

Pray for the future Native American Christian leaders being raised up at Mokahum Ministry Center in Bemidji, Minn., and that they would impact their tribes with the gospel.

Pray that God would use Native Americans and First Nations people to reach their own tribes with the gospel of Christ. 

Give thanks for those who participated in short-term missions this summer. Pray that God would continue to encourage them toward missions. 

Pray for God to draw the hearts of Native American and First Nations people to Himself and for Native churches to flourish.

Pray for the First Nations people in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, and for the ministry of Amazing Grace Community Church actively reaching the city for Christ. 

Pray for participants going on short-term missions this summer, that God would use the trip to encourage, strengthen relationships, and build a foundations for missions.


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