Youth Engagement at home and abroad

The following story is hypothetical. In the past few years, CRWM has adopted a  strategy to better develop a heart for missions in young people. Much of this came through the recent development of the Momentum and Cohort programs. This story illustrates that strategy through the events of one person’s life. It demonstrates the ability to create both local and global missionaries and also demonstrates implications for a unified missions agency (CRHM and CRWM).

Today is a big day for Simon. The last six months of  his life have been spent in careful preparation for today, but even more so, he now sees how God has been preparing him from the start.

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Many of the  highlights from Simon’s high school days didn’t take place in the classroom at all, but while serving on missions trips with members of his church youth group.

Although Simon first saw these trips as more of a social event, a way to get together with his church friends and work in a different part of the country, by the the time he came to his third trip he began to see himself as an unofficial leader. He was always asking the people he encountered questions and today he still remembers many of their faces.

Simon's youth group leaders recognized his growing passion for service too, so when Simon graduated and it came time for them to recommend someone for a year-long discipleship and service program, they knew Simon would be a great fit.

Simon joined the Momentum program during his second year of college and God worked through that time to deepen his passion for service. A pilot program that began in 2014, Momentum pairs together a team of two young people (ages 18-23) and one mature believer in a church. Together, they serve locally on a monthly basis and culminatie the project with a one month service project in another country.

 While serving on monthly local service projects, Simon tried everything from playing games with residents of a local nursing home to helping plan a youth-engaging event for a neighborhood. Simon did all of these activities with his friend and their spiritual mentor, a long-time member of their home church.

The Momentum program culminated in a month-long service trip at a Christian school in Kenya. This was Simon’s first time serving in another country and the experience opened his mind to the possibility of even longer service in the future.

As Simon continued through college, he found more opportunities to get involved at one of the locations where he served with his fellow Momentum participants. Along with this service, he helped at his church regularly as an assistant to the middle school youth group leader.

As Simon neared college graduation, he knew that God was calling him to develop his growing passion for service. He had heard about the Cohort of Missioners, a year-long cross-cultural learning and service experience, and now he was beginning to explore options for a year-long service and learning experience within the Cohort program. Ultimately, Simon decided on a Cohort opportunity in Romania, where he knew that he would be able to continue using his gifts in working with young teenagers.

As months passed in Romania, Simon found new forms of encouragement. He began to accept that he couldn’t solve all of the problems that he was faced with. His God was bigger than him and had a plan for everything.

A large step that came along with this acceptance came when Simon began to embrace his role as a “learner” rather than a “doer” in Romania. He witnessed missionaries and local people working hand-in-hand and he took note of the spiritual preparation that went into all of this work. As Simon’s days in Romania drew to a close, he had a much clearer picture of what it meant to go into full-time ministry—and he felt God calling him to this path as well.

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This brings us to today. Today’s the day that Simon steps off the plane from Romania. A year of observance, reflection, and service under his belt and an affirmed desire to continue in his service.

Simon now faces a decision. He wants to continue working with young people but what are his options? He has experience both in local and global mission work, but how does he explore his options?

Imagine now that Simon has been working with a unified missions agency. While working with the Momentum program, he would have seamless connections with local service opportunities through the CRHM network. Simon could have found a month-long service opportunity in North America

Simon would have even more opportunities to both global and local volunteer opportunities along with options to serve for his career. He could share what he learned in Romania with people working in North American campus ministries. Or maybe he could serve as a leader of a Cohort in North America, possibly even attended by one of the students that he worked with while in Romania.