Here is something that never occurred to me. It took a group of homeschoolers on my last group trip to Israel for me to see it.
I think it was one of our last evenings together when the group began discussing how meaningful their time had been in Israel. Just like every group, their time in Israel had been way more meaningful than they had anticipated.
Then, they began talking about Missions Trips and why so many churches have such a strong Missions Trip culture. These trips are often one of the church’s top priorities as an activity for its youth. Churches spend a great deal of time, energy, and money promoting the benefits of sending their youth on such trips.
What do Missions Trips accomplish?
Missions Trips are a fun way for a church’s youth to “get out of themselves” and experience, understand, and contribute to, a people-group less fortunate then they are. But, mostly, churches hope a Missions Trip will allow their young people to connect with God in a way they might not get connected with Him had they never taken such a trip.
So, what “never occurred to me” until these families began sharing with one another?
If church leaders want their youth to “get out of themselves”; to experience, understand, and contribute to another people-group; and especially if they want their youth to get connected with their God; there really is no better way to accomplish this than to see to it their young people get the chance to experience biblical Israel.
Should this be every church’s priority for its youth?
I have had the privilege of witnessing first-hand—and in the lives of literally hundreds of people—the overwhelming affect being in Israel has had on individuals, both adults and young people. I doubt any Missions Trip could accomplish this as dramatically as spending time experiencing one’s Bible in the Land of the Bible. Then, after their time in Israel, the church’s youth can take whatever Missions Trips are available (and with a much clearer sense of why they are taking such a trip!).
I have given a lot of thought to this idea since that evening in Israel.
But, I am also left with several questions:
Do churches understand the value of their people experiencing the Bible in the land of the Bible? How many pastors (or youth pastors, for that matter) have ever experienced biblical Israel, themselves? How many church leaders understand the life-changing impact experiencing biblical Israel could have on the church’s youth?
How difficult would it be to change the culture of a church’s Youth Program so the church prioritizes sending its youth to experience biblical Israel before taking a Missions Trip?
What are your thoughts on this? Leave a comment, below…
Next year will be my 15th year taking homeschooling families to tour biblical Israel. Check out my travel site at Experiencing Israel (also LIKE my Experiencing Israel Facebook page)
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