Why Student Missions and Witness Matters

Students serve at a local business organizing for local missions

The summer before my freshman year of High School I went on my first student mission trip with my youth group.  We traveled from Argyle, Texas, all the way to Rapid City to serve Native Americans who had left the reservation seeking a better life.  I vividly remember the week leaving me yearning for more.  Yearning to learn more about other cultures.  Yearning to see more places.  Yearning for more service to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  That week during the summer of 2011 has shaped my ministry to this day.

Should We Send Students?

15 Now they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. 16 But Jesus called for the little ones, saying, “Allow the children to come to Me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

In the passage above, Jesus reminds his disciples and, through the testimony of scripture, that young people are an essential part of the kingdom of God.  At First Baptist Arlington, sending people to witness to the world is a part of our DNA.  It starts right here in Arlington where, decades ago, Tillie Burgin and FBCA founded Mission Arlington which has served our community faithfully ever since.  Our church goes much further than the 817, though; we have FBCA-sponsored workers across the globe witnessing the Gospel through their work and testimony.

I am proud to say that we have young people participating in these sending efforts at every level.  FBCA students serve at Mission Arlington and all over our community regularly.  They also travel globally to partner with our workers and support their efforts.  As I write this, a team of students is traveling to Costa Rica to support church planting networks that are spreading the Gospel throughout the country.

Why Student Missions Matter

I am proud of this because I believe it is the call of God that all our people, including our young ones, participate in the spread of the Gospel through their words and their deeds.  Before Jesus’s ascension, he has this to say on the matter:

But He said to them, “It is not for you to know periods of time or appointed times which the Father has set by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.”

This is our call, to send our people as far as the remotest parts of the earth.  That isn’t the only option though.  Jesus is calling our people to witness and serve right here in our own context too.  For us, our Jerusalem is right here in Arlington, our Judea, is our surrounding area, and our Samaria is outside of that, all the way to the remotest parts of the earth.

So, why is it so important to me that students participate in missions?  Beyond Jesus telling us to do so, I believe that students have a special and unique set of talents and gifts to give our missional efforts.  Sometimes it is hard to put your finger on it, but students have a unique context and perspective to give that adults simply do not possess anymore.  I have witnessed it with my own eyes right here in Arlington, in Slovenia, Jamaica, Guatemala, and countless other places.  We are depriving the mission field of worthy, capable, and called participants when we fail to support our young people in their student missions endeavors.

What Are the Options?

Whether right here in Arlington or across the ocean in some foreign land, students have countless opportunities to serve in student missions.  This is not just for the benefit of others though; this is also for the benefit of the student.  When students encounter other cultures and serve in situations outside of their comfort zones, they always come back changed and with new perspectives.  There is a wide world out there, and our students can experience it and learn something while they are simultaneously following the call to “go” that the Lord has over all our lives.

If you are a student reading this or have a student and you are reading this; I encourage you to reach out and find out more.  We are always planning and headed towards our next student missions opportunity here at FBCA, and you or your student could be a part of it!  You can start small right here in Arlington or go big and jump on a plane to Slovenia this summer!  The beautiful thing is that no matter where you choose to go, when you choose to go, or how you choose to go, student missions matter.  So, GO!  We can’t wait to have you join us!

Tanner Watson

Tanner Watson

Tanner is the guy's minister at First Baptist Church of Arlington. He hails from Argyle, Texas. Tanner is a proud graduate of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, as well as Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary. Tanner can whip up a mean cup coffee and cook a great brisket.

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