Wednesday Word from Taylor: Youth Mission Trip
Four of our high school youth, Esi, Delilah, Addison, and Taylor, will embark on the Youth Mission Trip to CROSS Missions in Charlotte, NC this Sunday. Maddie Redden and I will accompany them as chaperones and participate in all the week's activities as well. We will join several other youth groups from across the East Coast for a week of service, learning, and worship. (Learn more about Cross Missions here.)
The idea of the “youth mission trip” is not new. For generations, church teens have crowded into busses, loaded onto planes, and stepped foot into new places in hopes of bringing God’s love and generosity to those in need. Though young people and leaders have had the best intentions, these types of mission trips have often brought more harm than good. Service has been confused with ‘saviorism’ and sharing God’s love has become a caption for Instagram selfies with poor-looking children.
CROSS Missions is doing things another way. They have created a platform that challenges young people to move beyond service projects and into a theological understanding of poverty They encourage youth to see how Jesus teaches us to be changemakers in the world. CROSS is committed to “crossing over boundaries that divide us, crossing out stereotypes that judge us, and keeping Christ’s love as our focus.” The St. Thomas youth will have the opportunity to serve with several different missions while learning how those organizations operate and why they provide that particular service. Service opportunities will be combined with worship and reflection that connect our youth with young people from different places and help them understand their own biases and assumptions. This program is intended to equip our youth with servants’ hearts that they can bring back to meet the needs of their own community.
I am thrilled to be going on this adventure with our youth and look forward to fostering their love of service. Before departing, we will attend the 10:30 service this Sunday where we will pray for God’s guidance and protection on our journey. We will return on Friday, July 28th hopefully, ready to share all we’ve learned with our church community and beyond.