Leading Youth on Mission

Throughout its history, the effectiveness of Youth on Mission has depended on leadership. It is safe to say that one person with a passion for missions can impact an entire group of teenagers. The beginning point is a desire for students to be involved in missions.

Whether you are a new leader just starting Youth on Mission or a leader with an expanded program, take a moment to answer these questions:

  • What are the missions education needs of our students?
  • What do our students know about the Bible's missions message?
  • In what ways do our students need to learn how to pray for missions needs?
  • What do our students know about giving financially to missions?
  • What do our students know about the Cooperative Program and the missions offerings?
  • What are our students currently learning about missions? How and where do they get that information?
  • What types of hands-on missions involvement would challenge our students?
  • What steps do we need to take to start missions education/missions discipleship in our church?

You may wish to ask several key men to answer the questions and use them for a discussion starter about Youth on Mission in your church. Let the answers to the questions above guide you in planning for Youth on Mission in your church.

Youth on Mission Leader Guide

By encouraging missions education for teens, WMU meets and anticipates the ever-changing needs of your missions efforts. With a comprehensive student focus, this guide is essential for missions leaders who are serious about leading teenagers in Youth on Mission.

Purchase your own copy of the Youth on Mission Guide for Leaders. This guide has a comprehensive missions focus and is essential for Youth on Mission leaders!

Print version (W126105)  $5.99

Download version (E126102)  $4.99


How to Start Youth on Mission

It’s important to remember that there are many ways to do Youth on Mission. Groups can meet as often as they are able—from weekly to once a month. Students are encouraged to lead meetings or plan meetings alongside adult leaders. Leaders should feel comfortable to design the program to fit the needs of the students in the church and work with the WMU director and leadership team in forming a Youth on Mission organization. 

Where Do I Begin?

Youth on Mission can be started with just one student or one group. The church determines the number of groups by considering factors such as the number of students, available leadership, space, and learning needs. Remember that while the age span for Youth on Mission is only six to seven years, the learning needs of a sixth- or seventh-grader and a senior in high school are extremely wide. Youth on Mission groups may include all grade levels, may have a separate group for each grade, or may be formed for younger and older students.

Many groups meet on Wednesdays. Some may choose to meet on Sunday afternoon or evening or even on Saturday afternoon or a weekday after school. Groups should decide when it is best to meet. Youth on Mission group meetings may take place at the same time as other activities at the church or at times and locations that are convenient to the members, prospects, and leaders. Most 17 groups meet at church, but you may choose to meet in someone’s home or another place that is convenient for your group.

Here a few tips to get started:

  • Work through the WMU leadership team to develop, enlist, and train leaders for Youth on Mission.
  • Talk with the leaders and students in your church about a time and place for Youth on Mission meetings. Or determine how you will plug in Youth on Mission as a regular part of your ongoing student ministry activities.
  • Order a copy of the current Youth on Mission plan book for each leader.
  • Download a sample of Youth on Mission curriculum.
  • Talk with students to get their input from the beginning. New seventh-graders who were active in missions education as children are an excellent place to start. While you’ll also want to enlist older students, those who are already interested in and committed to missions education can form the core group of your new Youth on Mission organization.
  • Contact your WMU director, leadership team, or state WMU office for information about upcoming training events.

How Do I Find Leaders?

Leading teenagers through Youth on Mission is an extremely rewarding experience. Many churches have established procedures for selecting, enlisting, and electing church leaders. Youth on Mission leaders should be selected by following church procedures. In some cases, WMU in the church may have a WMU leadership selection committee to select and enlist age-level organization leaders.

Those entrusted with selecting Youth on Mission leaders should begin with an understanding of the work to be done and seek to find the persons most qualified for each leadership role. Look for the right person for the right job.

It is important to use the right approach when enlisting leaders. The following six principles will help those who are responsible for enlisting leaders:

  1. Involve the person with whom the prospective leader will work in making the enlistment contact.
  2. Honestly communicate the requirements of the leadership role.
  3. Provide adequate information about responsibilities and resources.
  4. Present the work as a means of service to God.
  5. Give the prospective leader time to pray about and make a decision.
  6. Respect the prospective leader’s answer.

Who Leads Youth on Mission?

Leaders are the people who show the way and help WMU fulfill its purpose. The term leaders is a designation for those who lead. Leadership is the process of leading or the influence a person exerts. WMU needs both!

Leaders for Youth on Mission are called just that, leaders. When a church has more than one Youth on Mission group, there can be an Youth on Mission coordinator as well.

One or more adults help make Youth on Mission happen. Since Youth on Mission is for both guys and girls, a balance of adult men and women leaders for the organization is ideal. Initial planning should be done through the WMU director and the WMU leadership team. Adult leaders for the Youth on Mission planning team should be available to students to listen, gather input from them, coordinate member responsibilities, and guide the work of the group. The planning team also works cooperatively with the student minister and other youth leaders and the church’s missions education leaders. Adult leaders should be a member of the church.

Leaders should possess these qualities:

  • commitment to Jesus Christ, His church, and His mission
  • giftedness to serve
  • visionary outlook
  • team-oriented attitude
  • openness to new things
  • dependable and trustworthy character
  • leadership skills

Adult leaders coordinate work with the WMU director and the church’s missions education leaders. They partner with youth in getting students involved and in planning and doing the work of Youth on Mission. They get to know students and pray for them. They look for ways students can minister through the church and in the community. They look for special events and missions trips for students. And they help students grow as Christ followers.

Additional Resources

Use these resources to lead your students into missional living.

Youth on Mission,vol. 24: Unshakable Pursuit

Give your students a mission! Each Youth on Mission Plan Book gives you a year's worth of plans for missional experiences to get your youth moving.

Engage your youth group with a year's work of easy-to-use, undated lesson plans, including missions Bible studies, learning activities, mission stories, missions activities, and cultural activities.

W186101  $24.99

Youth on Mission, vol. 23: The World Awaits

The Youth on Mission Plan Book is a year's worth of missions education plans in one convenient resource. Designed for the Youth on Mission leader or church student minister, this book provides easy-to-use lesson plans for leading student missions education. The plan book is undated and includes  missions Bible studies, learning activities, mission stories, missions activities, and cultural activities.

W176101  $24.99

Ignite: An Experience to Spark Compassion for People Who Hurt (CD)

This interactive experience is designed to help students gain a deeper understanding about those who hurt and ideas for putting faith into mission action as they minister to hurting individuals around them. The CD contains leader instructions, student handouts, and promotional materials.

W156105  $19.99

Carry On: Prepping and Packing for Successful Missions Trips

Carry On provides all the information you need to prepare your students' and your leaders' hearts, souls, minds, and strength for your next missions trip to carry the gospel locally, regionally, and internationally. Topics include a six-week preparation guide, budgeting, the why's and when's of pre-project site visits, preparing backup plans for unknown problems or changes during the trip, onsite do's and don'ts, working with onsite ministry partners, what to pack, cultural sensitivity, including your congregation in supporting the trip and the students. Prepare to carry on despite challenges. Prepare for missions trip success.

W146103  $14.99


Contact your associational WMU director or student consultant. Call your local Baptist association for his or her phone number.
Contact your state Youth on Mission leader or call your state WMU office for more information.
Contact national WMU at youthonmission@wmu.org.

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