Can you imagine piling into a van with your youth group on a mission outing with no idea where you're headed?
One week, you climb out to find drop cloth, paint and paint brushes -- you're about to paint city fire hydrants. Another week, you open the door to the community garden where you'll be weeding and harvesting for a food bank.
Those are just the experiences Rev. Sam Halverson hopes youth leaders will cultivate with their youth groups using his new book, "Destination Unknown Missions: 30 Excursions to Transform Your Community." Halverson is an ordained United Methodist elder and currently serves as Associate Director of Connectional Ministries for the North Georgia Conference overseeing Youth and Young Adult Ministries.
This is the third of Halverson's "Destination Unknown" series that stemmed from one of his most effective efforts as a youth minister.
"A long time ago I did a program on the first Sunday of the month," he said. "I called it 'Destination Unknown Sunday.'"
He would plan a road trip for his youth, usually a short drive, to learn a hands-on lesson from scripture.
"If I said, 'we're going to a pig farm,' the kids would roll their eyes," he said. "If I said, 'We're going somewhere to learn about this line of scripture, they studied the scripture looking for clues.'"
The book's focus is on local missions. Each excursion idea includes a preparation check list, scripture focus, topics to discuss on the way, and what to do once you're at the site.
"It's important to help youth realize they don't have to wait for a summer mission trip to serve," Halverson explained. "I wanted to introduce them to agencies within the community and opportunities within the community. Some of the outings are to places like a soup kitchen, others are to a school playground."
Though youth groups are the primary audience for the book, it could be easily applied to a small group of adults who would like to meet regularly around service.
Halverson is happy to do a workshop with youth leaders or mission coordinator and would welcome the opportunity to join a group on one of these excursions. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The book is available to purchase through Cokesbury or Amazon.com. Find details at http://www.abingdonpress.com/forms/ProductDetail.aspx?pid=7362.