It’s back-to-school time. New clothes, new pencils, new gadgets. Reconnecting with your BFFs and saying TTFN to summer. So, is anyone thinking about being a BTSM (back-to-school missionary)?
One guy is. A 15-year-old student emailed me, asking how to prepare to be a missionary while in high school. I dug around a little, and it turns out there are plenty of other students who are serious about making a difference on their campuses. So, here are some tips.
1. Don’t wait. If you want to be a missionary after high school, then try acting like one in high school. There’s no magic pill that makes you more courageous after grad. Courage comes from embracing the challenge now, and seeing the lunch room or your sports team as your God-given mission field.
2. Read Do Hard Things by Brett and Alex Harris. I read this book a couple of years ago. It challenged me back then, and still influences me today. Courage will come from reading the stories of teens who put down the PS3 controller for an hour or two and did hard things for Jesus.
3. Grow in character. My brother Thom has been a youth pastor for years. He says most Christian youth need work on these areas: radical purity; respect for authority; humility; radical commitment to church; and radical commitment to orthodoxy.
4. Read a little more. Read a missionary blog or a missionary biography. The Christian Heroes series by YWAM Publishing is a great place to start.
5. Develop compassion. Befriend someone who has no friends. Serve with a local mission organization or participate in service projects in your city to learn about the justice issues they address. Spend time with people who love the needy – which could mean volunteering to stuff envelopes or sort clothing with them.
6. Serve in your church. Strange as it sounds, teaching a Sunday school class of five-year-olds to love the nations will probably do more for your own development than theirs. Join a mission committee or play guitar on a worship team. Say, “I love this church. I need this church. Someday, they might send me to another country as a missionary.”
7. Support a missionary. Could you find $5 per month to support a missionary family? It will shape your heart and connect you to God’s mission more than you can imagine.
8. Pray for a missionary. Pray on your own while waiting for the bus, or gather some friends for group prayer at lunch hour. If you like, use the daily prayer guide posted on the MB Mission website.
9. Practise sensitivity to Jesus. Ask yourself daily, “What are you doing around me, Lord?” “How should I respond to what you’re doing?” Write down your answers in a journal. Writing forces us to distinguish our own thoughts and prayers from the Holy Spirit’s voice.
10. Get ready to be mocked. It’s true. Today, students are scorned for their faith in Jesus, especially when they’re seen loving the least popular kids. However, their love for the least popular is Jesus’ way of developing passion for least-reached nations.
Allow me to salute you, as you learn to become a back-to-school missionary. (And, just so you know, the tips in this article are the same things that keep my own passion for mission alive.) G4I!
—Sam Dick is the North American mobilization coordinator for MB Mission. This piece originally appeared on Sam’s blog at www.samdick.org.