In case you haven’t heard, the IMB is beginning a new program called “Hands-On” which allows young adults 18-29 the chance to spend a semester overseas working with missionaries in a mentor-like situation to learn more about career missionary life. Here are a few quotes from the news article:
The Hands On initiative will immerse young adults in a culture and language for four to five months so they can share the love of Jesus. Volunteers will work in both rural and urban areas with projects ranging from inner-city evangelism to auto repair.
“I think Hands On is recognition of the need we have to mentor a younger generation in missions,” Stillwell said. “This is so we’ll have career missionaries for the future, but also people who are active in local churches and have a heart for what God’s doing around the world.”
Having the passion for missions that I do and having served as a Journeyman, I think this idea is the bomb. I hope that churches, BSU’s/BCM’s, college pastors, etc., will promote and encourage their students to forgo one semester to spend it overseas. What’s also cool is that the Board is subsidizing more than half of the cost to go and spend a whole semester. The total cost to go to Africa is only $2600. That may sound like a lot, but that really is cheap for a whole semester’s worth of experience in missions.
I have written before (here, here, and here) about how I believe that one of the huge shortcomings of college ministry is the lack of men interested in missions. This opportunity to send men to the mission field for a short time might hopefully lead to seeing them serving in a longer term role. Wouldn’t it also be great if they returned with some amazing stories and encouraged their friends to go? Then can’t you envision the entire church group and even the church catching the vision for missions? Wow, what a day it will be when we see entire congregations impacted and motivated to sharing the gospel around them as they wait for their chance to go overseas.
Props to the IMB for taking this idea and doing what it took to make this a reality!