Advent Newsletter Excerpt | Serve 2024

Written by Pastor Ben Wimmers, Pastor of Youth and Family

It has become a rite of passage for high school students to go on a mission trip. We are familiar with the variety of trips offered by churches, schools, and youth organizations, each of which promise students an opportunity to step outside of their familiar community for a week to participate in a faith formative experience.

Not all trips are created equal, nor do they all strive to achieve the same goals. The challenge that comes to youth leaders and parents is how to decide which mission trip to send our youth on. Here are my evaluation standards for deciding where to go and which organization to partner with.

  1. Rooted in Scripture. This may seem obvious, but it must be said. Mission Trips are spaces to wrestle with faith, God, and identity. We cannot allow our youth to step into these places of challenge without being surrounded and upheld by the truth of God’s Word. Having a mission trip that provides space for formal teaching, small group discussions, and personal devotions are non-negotiable for me. As the youth encounter new people, new stories, and new situations we must also point them back to the Bible for guidance on how to interpret their new experiences.
  2. Supporting Local Christians. The worst thing a mission trip can do is create a community that is dependent on mission trips for their wellbeing. It is a sad thought, to look back at some projects I was a part of and realize that the things my team started did not have involvement from local churches to sustain that ministry. As a result, these ministries, while having value for the time we were there, did not continue to have an impact. Working with the assets of local communities and supporting Christians that are staying long-term is an important aspect of short-term mission.
  3. Accessibility. I have gone on some exciting trips. Having the opportunity to participate in short-term mission trips across three continents is a great gift. The farther you travel from home, the higher the costs. If we want to make mission trips an accessible part of the youth group experience, it means staying a bit closer to home. While that helps to bring costs down, it also makes the experience more readily available to recontextualize once the youth return home. Staying in Canada or the USA means that less work must be done to translate your mission experience to your own backyard.

This is where I can talk about Therefore Go Ministries. I have been working with Therefore Go since I was in youth group and went on my first trip, to Washington D.C. in 2009. I have gone as a student, a leader, and been a part of hosting other youth groups at my home church in Ontario. Therefore Go checks all the boxes for me and has strong support from the CRCNA as both host churches and sending churches. It is my hope that our high school youth will be able to go on a one week trip this summer. We are still working out the when and the where and would appreciate your prayer and support as we work towards providing an amazing opportunity for our youth.

Curious to read more about Therefore Go Ministries? We invite you to check out their website: