What if there was an experience that could open your eyes, soften your heart, and turn you into an empowered servant of God?

For thousands of people, this experience is what they voluntarily sign up for on a yearly basis. In the United States alone, thousands of groups will embark on a Jesus-centered, life-changing mission trip. A large portion of those groups is made up of young, up-and-coming servants of God: teenagers. We’re not surprised.

The teen years are a formative time, and it’s important that teens be surrounded with people who can help them grow not only in mind and heart but also in their Christian faith.

Here are five reasons every teen should experience going on a short term group mission trip:

Local children braiding hair of short term missionaries on mission trip1. Mission trips build community

Mission trips are events that teens look forward to where they get to create lifelong friendships as they serve God side by side. Having shared experiences, especially ones with people who have common beliefs, brings groups together. Teens who go on mission trips eat together, travel together, work together, get up at atrocious hours together, and bond with one another.

2. Missions trips broaden horizons

Teenagers rarely get the opportunity to step outside their warm, cushy bubbles and see what life is like for other people. But when they join a short term mission trip, they are able to meet individuals from all walks of life. In their day-to-day lives, teens don’t get to witness firsthand the stark differences between their lives and those who aren’t as fortunate.

The kind of education a short term group mission trip provides cannot be taught in school. Teenagers become more appreciative of the privileges they enjoy on a daily basis when they see how other people can live without first world luxuries. Short term missions prove that financial status is arbitrary and that in God’s eyes, everyone is the same.

3. Mission trips push comfort zones

Living in a first-world country comes with a lot of perks. Hot and cold showers, soft beds, television, an abundance of clean drinking water… and the list goes on. Teenagers typically won’t encounter discomforts that people from impoverished countries suffer through every single day.

Short term missions give young adults the opportunity to break out of their comfort zones. They get to paint houses, carry out minor home repairs, manually mix concrete under the heat of the sun, eat simple food, and sleep on air mattresses (sometimes on the floor). But then they are constantly reminded that through their service, they are able to help others grow closer to Christ.

4. Mission trips give purpose

We often underestimate the ability of teenagers to impact the world, but when given the chance, they take on a lot of responsibility and make a difference.

Mission trips allow youth to think and act like adults, without the safety net of home. They become proactive, open-minded individuals and become more aware of what they’re capable of doing. That, in itself, is a powerful thing.

5. Mission trips allow teens to participate in Christ’s ministryTeenagers praying for local children on mission trip

Jesus journeyed far and wide to preach the Gospel to his flock. For many teenagers, mission trips are the start of their lifelong commitment to God’s word. It gives them the chance to participate in God’s global mission in agreement with His heart for the world.

Adults who have gone on a Christian mission trip as a teenager, often recall that the experience was one in which God worked through their lives. It wasn’t simply about going on a fun trip with their friends, or painting houses for the needy, or building resumes for their future career. It was about anchoring their faith in the Lord by serving others.

For many years, short term group mission trips have played a crucial role in the lives of Christian teenagers, and we continue to believe in the power it has on developing minds. Many teens have walked away from our programs with a stronger heart for service than ever before.

Interested in participating in Christ’s ministry with your group? Join In Motion Ministries!

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