Three Books for Youth Mission Trips

But There is Still Stuff to Do

In our last post (Who We Are Matters More Than What We Do) we emphasized that who we are becoming is more important than what we are doing. Going on a youth mission trip involves more than packing the right things and generating excitement over going to a new place with friends.

First, there is the necessary submission to the changing and growing process God wants to do in us. Of course, that’s not to say what we do isn’t important.  There definitely is plenty of stuff God wants us to do!

So once we’re on that right trajectory of growth, how should we approach the work God has for us?

There are at least three helpful resources we’ve found, exploring the motivations for living out our Christian mission. Interestingly enough, they all involve the word do!

Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung

Having two high school students myself, I see the amount of decisions before them and the need for some type of decision-making rubric to help them.

It’s easy for Christians, in our effort to stay on God’s path for us, to become overwhelmed, seeking for that sometimes elusive peace, affirming our decision is God’s perfect will for us. The process of achieving this peace can involve a lot of frustrating and unnecessary spiritual gymnastics.

DeYoung simplifies finding God’s will in a way that flows perfectly from the biblical prerequisite we’ve established: living like Christ.

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex & Brett Harris

This book is the rallying cry our generation of students needs. It sets their sights on what their lives can be when lived above the societal norm for teenagers and for something bigger than themselves.

My 17-year-old says this book gave her the courage to live her life counter-culturally while attending a public school, surrounded by temptations and a worldview often at odds with the Bible.

Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper

Although the title is stated negatively, we could rephrase it positively to say “Spend Your Life Doing Something Useful.” Piper says a life usefully spent is one that “live[s]. . .by a passion of the supremacy of God in all things.”

He provides a framework for what living by this passion looks like in most of the main ages and stages of life. This book stands the test of time since it’s still in print today (although it has been updated) and, several years ago now, it was foundational in my life as a college student. (Note: A 10-week study guide is also available to use alongside the book.)
These resources we’ve shared in the last two posts are helpful, not because they have authority in and of themselves, but because they echo (although imperfectly) the Word of God, the ultimate authority.

Paul encourages his friends in Philippi that because God is at work in them for his good purposes, they are equipped with his power to live in a way that gives hope to an otherwise hopeless generation. Philippians 2 unifies the concepts of who we are fueling what we do.

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed. . .continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’  Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” (Philippians 2:12-16a)

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