JEFFERSON CITY – More than 100 student missionaries will be deployed by the Missouri Baptist Convention this summer to bring gospel transformation throughout Missouri and beyond. The number of student missionaries involved in the MBC program have nearly doubled over the past two years.
These students will serve for 10 weeks with churches, associations and other ministries across the state. They also serve as small group leaders during Super Summer, the MBC’s camp for youth held annually at Hannibal-LaGrange University and, beginning this year, also Southwest Baptist University.
According to David Hendrick, director of the missions program, the Summer Missions Mentor Initiative exists not merely to provide volunteers to help with various tasks around the state. The program challenges students to follow Christ eagerly and to make disciples, multiply churches and develop leaders for a lifetime.
Hendrick told The Pathway that, alongside the rise in student missionaries being deployed, there has been a rise also in mentors.
This is great, he said, because “it allows us to impact more of the next generation – the summer missionaries – and it increases the impact we can have on mentors.”
Student missionaries begin their journey in early June on the campus of Hannibal-LaGrange University, where they received training. The training week emphasizes the need to think, not like consumer Christians, but like true followers of Christ assigned to a day-to-day, lifelong missionary task. The summer missionaries also learn how to show Christlike compassion to people who—for cultural reasons or simply because they have never accepted the gospel message—act and think differently than they do.
Hendrick told The Pathway that the training week is not the only aspect of the summer missionary program that focuses on developing students into young Christian leaders. In addition, students are connected to a mentor who encourages them and helps them grow as disciples and as disciple-makers.
None of this, however, is possible without Missouri Baptists’ generous giving through the Cooperative Program and—insofar as this ministry is concerned—through the Missouri Missions Offering.
The Cooperative Program (CP) is the funding process Southern Baptists have used since 1925 to support missions and evangelism at the state, national, and international levels. Through CP, the mission of one church is extended to ministries that reach the lost, hungry, and hurting.
The Missouri Missions Offering (MMO) is the annual state missions offering that directly supports nearly 20 missions projects in Missouri, like summer missions.
“This ministry happens because of that,” Hendrick said, adding that Missouri Baptists have every reason to be proud of the students and of the missionary program that they’re supporting through these offerings.