Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mission for Life

My first experience with mission happened in high school. I grew up in eastern Oregon and went to the Presbyterian Church most Sundays with my family. I do not remember a single message saying that I needed to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I moved to Washington State and that immediately changed. Through the ministry of the First Presbyterian Church of Ellensburg I came to know Christ Jesus. At that same time my church was thinking about having its first “mission trip.” It was going to be a youth mission trip to Alaska, serving on the mission boat Anna Jackman. The trip was to be a year-and-a-half way. A church in our presbytery was planning on sending a group to the Anna Jackman that very summer. The church did not have enough students and advisors to make the trip so the opened it up to other churches in the presbytery. Our church decided that it would be a good idea to send some of our youth plus and adult. The group from our church was to help evaluate the possibility of our own mission trip. This was my first experience with mission. The following year our youth group worked and worked to earn enough money for us to head to Alaska. We spent seven days on the mission boat going from Native village, to logging camp, to small town. We sang. We talked to kids and their parents. We talked about Jesus. I have been an advocate of mission ever since.

I have spent several hours going through the denomination’s web pages on our mission co-workers. The denomination says that we have 250 fully compensated mission co-workers. I will give my analysis of the PCUSA mission involvement at the end of this mission series. I don’t want to give away what I have been finding; however, I will say that I have only found one (I have looked at 40 of the 250) that I think would “hook-a-teen-on-mission” like the Anna Jackman hooked me. Getting a teen excited about mission gets him/her excited about the church. Getting a teen excite about the church can create a church bond that will last a lifetime. Why is it that when the PCUSA has budget cuts to make that it always hits missions so hard? The PCUSA is cutting the one thing that can grab a teen for life.


At 3:35 PM , Blogger Quotidian Grace said...

Absolutely correct. My two daughters' experience with mission in our church youth group is the single most important thing they took away from that experience--and the reason they still feel connected to the Presbyterian church as twenty-somethings.

At 5:07 PM , Blogger person in the pew said...

I also agree about missions being one of the most experiences of a teen's church life. My 13 year old daughter went on a mission trip to San Diego this summer and it is helping to deepen her connection to our church.

At 6:52 AM , Blogger Sherree G. Funk said...

Dear Pastor Lance,
I am writing a book on the history of the Anna Jackman. I would love to talk to you more about your experience on the boat. Please email me.
Sherree Funk


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