Late Elementary: I have been impressed with the growing trend of late elementary students who serve alongside their families. Many churches design these from scratch as good exposure to serving others and doing so in community. In general, they stay relatively close to home, go for 5 days or less and tend to be on the more economical side.
High School: Now on the other side of the middle school spectrum, high school students can handle a little bit more when it comes to cultural immersion, labor and social interaction with the homeless. Again, I am impressed with some of the missions groups who work hard at allowing High School students to do meaningful work, build relationships and grapple with a theological framework for the Gospel and justice.
Junior High/Middle School: From my experience, I’m not convinced we are knocking this one out of the park when it comes to meaningful missions trips and a 13-year-old. I have seen either too many dry lectures on caring for the poor or I’ve participated in too many trips where we left the work site worse than when we found it. This is such an interesting age because they are pulling away from parents but don’t quite have the skills to bless ministries like Habitat for Humanity etc.
I want our Junior High kids to see God in a new context, work their tails off in a meaningful way and have creative and energetic teaching to give them a theological framework for local, national and global missions. In a nutshell, I want a holistic trip that is age appropriate and transformative. Is this possible?
What is your answer to this conundrum?
What do you think