Service and short term mission trips can be a key part of faith formation and discipleship for young people. As former Jesuit Superior General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach states,
When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change. Personal involvement with innocent suffering, with the injustice others suffer, is the catalyst for solidarity which then gives rise to intellectual inquiry and moral reflection.
Students, in the course of their formation, must let the gritty reality of this world into their lives, so they can learn to feel it, think about it critically, respond to its suffering and engage it constructively. They should learn to perceive, think, judge, choose and act for the rights of others, especially the disadvantaged and the oppressed.
Leaders can transform service experiences into lasting impact through adopting a service learning model, which incorporates intentional elements of preparation, action, reflection and celebration. For our church based groups, we collaborate with groups leaders to provide worship experiences and the chance to explore the biblical mandate to love our neighbor. We invite our volunteers to imagine community service a little differently. Take a look at our service learning paradigm, programming, justice ministries, and resources.