By Carol Pipes
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Summer student missionaries serving with World Changers, PowerPlant and Families on Mission gathered at the North American Mission Board (NAMB) for the annual “Great Send Off” commissioning service June 2.
The 84 summer student missionaries will travel in 21 teams across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico helping lead 25,000 participants in construction, ministry and church planting projects during the summer.
Harry Lewis, NAMB’s vice president of partnership missions and mobilization, delivered the commissioning sermon while summer staff worship leaders led the music. John Bailey, NAMB’s student volunteer mobilization team leader, welcomed staff and family members.
The summer missionary teams will coordinate logistics, lead worship and provide support at 122 projects related to World Changers, PowerPlant and Families on Mission.
“God is in the sending business,” Lewis told the student missionaries, citing examples from the Old and New Testaments.
“When God sent Paul to the Gentiles, He began a missional movement,” Lewis said. “Who knows what God’s going to accomplish through you this summer.”
Lewis reminded the students that they are being sent with the vision of Jesus, the authority of the Father, instructions for the task, the message of the Gospel and the sensitivity of the Holy Spirit.
“You are going to touch the lives of 25,000 young people,” Lewis said. “The potential in this room is tremendous.
“I’m looking forward to the reports when you come back of how many people came to Christ and how your lives were changed.”
Through World Changers, some 23,000 students will travel to 85 cities – including St. Louis, Waianae, Hawaii, and Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico – to participate in 97 projects involving roof installation, drywall repair, painting and ministry evangelism this summer –- the program’s 20th anniversary since it began under the former Southern Baptist Convention Brotherhood Commission.
Another 2,400 students will participate in PowerPlant projects in 19 cities from Los Angeles to Ottawa, Ontario. Through PowerPlant, students learn about local church planting efforts and work alongside a church planter.
Families on Mission, the third ministry given the “Great Send Off,” will involve more than 600 family members who, as families, will undertake missions projects in six cities throughout the U.S.
World Changers, PowerPlant, Families on Mission summer staff are leaders in their college churches and campus ministries.
Simeon Bricker, a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, serving as the audio-visual technician for one of the PowerPlant teams, is returning for a second summer.
“Seeing churches focused on their communities and reaching people with the love that Christ called us to is one of the main reasons I came back,” said Bricker, a member of Strasburg (Mo.) Baptist Church. “My hope for the summer is that God would move in the hearts of students and give them a desire to go back to their own communities and live out what they learned at PowerPlant.”
Bricker’s passion for seeing Christians awaken to the needs of the mission field has spilled over into his college coursework as a studio art major.
“I’d like to use multi-media to bring missions to life,” he said, “and let people have a view of what’s going on in the world through missions.”
The student missionaries spent nearly two weeks in training at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga., with Richard Ross, professor of student ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, as the speaker during worship sessions.