The Problem With How We Teach Missions

I recently read an article that just reinforces my belief that most churches are missing the mark when it comes to how we educate students about mission work. Here’s the quote that caught my attention

“Quit entertaining your children and your young people. Drive them to study God’s Word. Expose them to the field for the depth of understanding that will commit their lives to service and prayer, and their money will follow.”

Now on the surface, this is a great quote. If we are not careful, student ministry becomes more about fun and entertainment instead of the Gospel. And I understand the struggle for  funding for international missions. However, here is where this quote (and most churches) misses the mark.

If you want your students to do missions, don’t just teach them about missions. Instead, involve them and do mission work with them.

Missions education needs to be far more than praying for missionaries on their birthdays. From an early age, we need to involve our children and students in the work of ministry. Unintentionally, we teach students that there are three levels of Christians: lay people who pray and support the work through giving,  pastors and other full-time ministers, and then missionaries who are the super-elite Christian superstars.  When you involve students in serving, both locally and globally, you teach them that we are all responsible for sharing the Gospel. And not only that, many of them will fall in love with helping and serving others, and get involved in full-time ministry or mission work.

Discipleship is not about transferring information, it is about mentoring and teaching and modeling how to follow Christ. The current student generation is not motivated by information. They are cause-driven, and they want to change the world. As churches, we need to equip them and provide opportunities for them to do it! One of the best books on this subject that I have read is Family on Mission by Mike & Sally Breen. It teaches the importance of families serving together.

Feel free to jump in on the comments below and let me know what you think.


I am a former design engineer who now pastors Cornerstone Community Church in Galax, Virginia. I'm passionate about following Jesus and I love technology. I've been married to Jennifer for 28 years, and we have three adult children.

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