In Matthew 28, Jesus gives a clear commission for how His believers were to live once He physically left the earth. The call to His disciples then, and to the Church as a whole now remains the same: Go and make disciples of all nations. This call applies to us as we live out the gospel in our day-to-day lives, and it also compels us to share the gospel with people of all nations. Short term mission trips is one avenue through which we can do this. As we make disciples and teach others to obey Christ's commands, we strive to focus on four aspects of ministry that are central to our philosophy and practice:
Only the good news of Jesus ultimately has the power to save people from their sins and lead them to a life of hope and freedom. We select mission partners based on their commitment to Scripture, Gospel-centered ministry, and the opportunity for students to be able to share the good news of Jesus with those with whom they come into contact. Servant Life understands the distinction between humanitarian efforts and Christ-centered ministry, and is wholeheartedly committed to the latter. This does not mean that we will not seek to love people and meet their phsyical needs as well; we believe this is extremely important. But we believe that a holistic ministry approach involves both loving actions and the Word of truth.
Romans 10:14-15, John 14:6
Short-term mission trips must happen within a long-term ministry strategy. In order to see true discipleship, the relationships that are formed during trips must continue past the 6-10 days that participants are on the ground. Therefore, we serve our long-term missionaries within our network in whatever way best fits their needs. Our goal is to be a catalyst that stimulates their ministry opportunities for the other 51 weeks of the year. We exist to support the work in which they have invested their lives in the same way the Philippians supported Paul in Philippians 1:3-7. After we leave, they are the ones who will continue the work that we have helped with.
Ministry happens best within the context of relationships. Our goal is to provide mission experiences that allow students to have extensive, saturated time to build relationships with those they are serving. Whether it is serving as support staff at a camp, ministering to orphans and impoverished, or teaching English to a refugee from an Unreached country, we want trip participants to form meaningful relationships as a platform to share the life-giving good news of Jesus Christ. From what we see in Scripture, the gospel is transferred from person to person by word of mouth, and this requires us to be in relationship with others.
John 4:1-26, 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
Youth and Children
Students don't need to wait to do ministry. The Lord has proven Himself faithful to use a simple conversation, a warm hug, or a game of tag to build a bridge to share the gospel of Christ with someone else. We believe that God has uniquely positioned teenagers and young adults to creatively and competently minister to their fellow peers and children in a dynamic way. Therefore, many of our trips do have an emphasis on ministering to other youth and students (which often opens the door to loving and sharing with the rest of their families as well). However, teams will also encounter many adults during trips as well, especially as we do home visits and things of that nature. Servant Life trips are appropriate for students and will often feature ministry to students, but are also appropriate for adults as well. We ask for 1 adult for every 5 students on your team, but we have many teams who end up closer to 1 to 1, and we are great with that. Servant Life can also host adult teams in some locations, so please contact us if you're interested in that.
Matthew 18:1-5, 1 Timothy 4:12