Believers are called to reach out to the world they live in. Ambassadors in Mission (AIM) gives students the opportunity to fulfill the command Jesus gave to His disciples in Mark 16:15: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (NIV).
AIM allows students to make a hands-on impact on the mission field, and challenges them to not just take a trip, but to make a difference. Since we are called to go into the world, we have the chance to share the good news of Jesus Christ as we establish relationships with other people.
In August of 2014, that is exactly what a Lakeland, Florida youth group did.
Fifty students traveled to Columbus, Ohio to participate in the National Fine Arts Festival as well as the National AIM trip. That summer left a lasting impression both on the students and the community.
The students served local churches and the greater Columbus area through park outreaches, sidewalk evangelism, and ministering with their Fine Arts presentations. We visited the Ohio State Fair where some teenagers were compelled to step out of their comfort zone and started conversations with strangers about the love of Jesus.
One particular event that stands out is after our students handed out groceries to families, they were able to fill a bus with what was left over from that outreach. During the rest of the week, students returned to gather groceries from the church, then walked door-to-door offering food to families.
The youth group came to Ohio and found a greater purpose in addition to presenting at the National Fine Arts Festival. Some conquered fears of public speaking, and others were called to missions.
Undeniably, God used teenagers that summer to reach communities in Columbus as He used their experiences to transform their hearts as well.
In a letter, Paul encouraged Timothy, “Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12, NIV).
In the same way, our youth students should be encouraged to pursue God’s standard in their words, actions, and behavior. As they do so, this generation can be an example not just to other believers, but to those who don’t know Christ’s love.
That is why AIM is essential. Young people should not be deprived of this ministry opportunity, so it is imperative for leaders to challenge them to serve the local community and position them to do so.
As students are equipped to meet the physical and spiritual needs of people around the world, they are offered an experience that stretches them and allows them grow in their personal walk with God. It also gives them the chance to hear the call of God and see the reality of the world around them.
The active discipleship program we have through AIM does not allow us to set low expectations for the impact a student can make as they go into the world around them and share the gospel.
In 1906, one of the greatest spiritual awakenings the world had ever seen was taking place on Azusa Street, because people did not let culture dictate what they could do for Christ.
While thousands traveled from all over the United States, Canada, and Europe with the intention of encountering God, many were being trained and sent out from the same place as evangelists and missionaries.
And as people started going out from the Azusa Street Mission, the power of the Holy Spirit moved through them and around the world. It proved that God could and would use anybody who was willing, which encouraged others to follow in missions.
Now imagine hundreds of students fervently answering the call to serve their community and minister to the people around them.
What would that look like?
This year the Assemblies of God community is gathering in Southern California, in Anaheim, in the backyard of where the Azusa Street Revival began.
From August 7-11, 2017, during National Youth Convention, we are working with the local churches to provide students with a missions experience that will transform their lives along with the SoCal area.
Our hope is that students are equipped in a practical way that can be replicated in their own communities, as well as connect the people of Anaheim to local Assemblies of God churches in the area.
What if the next generation would use this opportunity to reach beyond themselves, break through their comfort zones, and accomplish more than they thought possible?
Here’s how one teenager in Florida is praying and believing God for more:
Dear Lord, I pray that you continue to raise up a generation that is unashamed and unafraid of sharing the gospel. Father, I ask for fresh fire as we step out and minister on the streets, in churches, in schools and in their neighborhoods. Father, I pray that we see the needs of the world around us through your eyes. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Join us in prayer as we prepare to gather at the place where it all began, and consider one question.
What if it happened again?
Registration is now open to give students the chance to experience the same Holy Spirit at National Youth Convention that was at the Azusa Street Revival. For more information and to register online, visit http://anaheim17.ag.org.