very cool middle school/family ministry/missions idea

last night i got to have dinner with a gang of my junior high ministry friends: alan mercer (jh pastor at christ community in leawood, ks), nate severson (jh pastor at hillcrest covenant, in overland park), steve friesen (jh pastor at olathe bible church), and heather flies (jh pastor at wooddale church, in the minneapolis area). we had a great dinner of bison steaks (!), and lots of laughs. all of them will be at our junior high pastors summit in early may, but it was so great to hang with them here.

nate was flying to guatemala this morning, and when i asked him why, he humbly told me about a new program they’re developing, saying it “wasn’t anything revolutionary.” but he was wrong: it’s one of the most amazing and creative ideas i’ve heard in a long time.

nate explained that they’d heard about a small village in guatemala that recently had a child-sponsorship organization pull out. so there are 250 previously sponsored kids who don’t have enough money for schooling, and who’s families regularly don’t have enough food. nate has a friend who’s moving to this village, and is setting up a partnership with nate’s middle school ministry. his hope is to have the families in his middle school ministry ALL sponsor at least one kid (they have about 150 families respresented in their ministry, so some families would have to sponsor more than one kid). the plan is that once all the families have sponsored kids, they will all commit to monthly correspondance with their sponsor-child, and regular prayer as a family. in addition, nate worked with the missions committee of his church to set up two additional facets of this plan. first, they’ll begin yearly family missions trips, sponsored by the middle school ministry, taking families to this village. in addition, the missions committee has agreed to set aside money to help each family take a family trip to the village to spend a week with their sponsor kid and family.

can you imagine the impact this will have on his group? and on those families? and on that village? for those middle school kids to be aware that their group is meeting the needs of an entire village. for those families to develop relationships, and actually visit the kids they sponsor. for that church to be impacted by this middle school ministry and this vision. it really could be revolutionary. viva la kingdom of god, baby!

6 thoughts on “very cool middle school/family ministry/missions idea”

  1. it is absolutely fantastic.

    it also highlights the rarely mentioned risk of child sponsorship organisations versus community development organisations.

  2. I’m not real big on youth mission trips for a variety of reasons. However, this is one of those that I could really get behind. Great idea. I wonder… maybe more could get on something like this in the future.

  3. Hey Mark!

    I heard you mention something about the Jh ministry summit that you do once a year at NYWC. I was wondering what the qualifications were for getting involved, and what it exactly is.



  4. hey joshua — it’s an invitation-only gathering of full-time, junior high-only (meaning, they can’t be junior high and high school, or something like that), veterans with at least 7 or more years of experience (preferably 10 or more), and a sense of calling to junior high ministry as a long-term profession.

    we’re all full for this year (we try to keep it to about 20 — this year we have 22), but let me know if you fit the bill, and we can add you to the list for possible future inclusion.

  5. I guess I would qualify, I would like to be added to the list for possible future inclusion. Or if someone drops out at the last minute I may be able to jump in, in short notice depending when it is. If you write back to my email I can send you my contact info. Thanks Mark!

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