We recognize that it can be hard for high school students to feel as though they are truly living for Christ and for the Kingdom. On youth mission trips students often hear the invitation to go into all the world with the gospel. Youth leaders and speakers clearly present Christ’s words to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow him. But that can make it sound like missional living requires world travel and gospel preaching on a diet of bugs. That might be either scary or exciting, but it’s not an accurate picture of Kingdom impact for everyone.
Students can get even more confused after returning home, because changing the world often gets put on hold altogether. Thoughts of world restoration can be drowned out by the need to get good grades, a good job, enough money and a successful life. But is it really one or the other? Can a student in the midst of homework, sports, tests and friends really help change the world with the gospel? Or for some of us, are our lives just too normal to have divine Kingdom impact? We may wonder if we’re missing a higher calling or if there’s a way that everyday life can become more radically Christian.
Inspired by God’s exhortations to his people in Isaiah 58, the theme for 2014 will address issues of justice that “ordinary” people can do something about right away. “Normal” will be redefined in light of heavenly, and not earthly, standards, so that students will see just how radical everyday Christian life and love can be.
The fundamental truth is that God exists, and he is engaged in creation and culture. Students will be encouraged to celebrate their gospel call to be co-workers with Christ by bringing about restoration in the world. They will be challenged to add practical justice initiatives to their existing routine of spiritual disciplines. By the end of the week, students and leaders will be encouraged to engage their congregations back home with a Kingdom-impacting project that will take place in the fall or winter in order to keep the momentum from their summer trip moving towards a lifestyle of missions.
This year, Serve student mission trips is excited to partner with Live58 and World Renew to bring real stories of community impact and resources for continued service after the Serve week. If you want to get a head start on this theme, read the book Fast Living by Dr. Scott Todd. All Serve Speakers and Worship Leaders will be encouraged to read this before Serve, and both the Host and Sending Churches will be encouraged to watch the movie, LIVE 58.