Leverage Spring Break for the Kingdom
How much could one week catalyze your mission mobilization?
In 1991, I happened upon a strategy that absolutely changed my thinking.
I led a team of college students and graduates from the University of Arizona and went to the University of Southern California to do evangelism over Spring Break. We were on Spring Break, but they weren’t, so the campus was full of students. We spent the week serving, sharing the gospel and having a good time together. The camaraderie we built and the kingdom impact we had on that campus changed our lives. And ever since that Spring Break in 1991, I’ve never looked back.
We now call these annual trips Spring Break Mission.
For many, spring break is simply a week for students to unwind, let loose and just have fun. Every year, students make decisions about spring break that have a major impact on their life, and unfortunately, many of those decisions have negative consequences. Students often take steps backwards personally, relationally and spiritually. But we’ve seen Spring Break shift from a week of losing momentum, to a week of accelerating momentum as a church family on mission.
Over the years, we’ve sent 1,950 students and graduates to over 50 campuses across the country, from UCLA to UVA, and the mission mobilization that happens is unlike any other week in the school year. In fact, a few years ago, we discovered that 60% of our full-time staff sensed God calling them to ministry while on a Spring Break Mission trip.
I submit that leveraging spring break for the Kingdom is one of the keys to multiplying leaders in the harvest.
Every year, we send teams to other campuses across the country to do evangelism. For three days, we go out into the harvest to meet new students, set Gospel Appointments and help connect them to local ministries. As students take godly risks and learn to share their story and the gospel story, their lives are absolutely transformed, and they experience Jesus as the Lord of the Harvest. After that we spend a couple days connecting as a team and exploring whatever city we’re in because, after all, it is spring break. At some point during the trip, students hear a message that inspires them to make the Great Commission their mission and to focus on making disciples back on their own campus. After seeing God use them in the harvest, many students respond in faith and take steps of leadership.
So what are the key ingredients to a fruitful Spring Break Mission?
I want to share three things we’ve discovered:
First, we connect. Think about it: 7 days, 18 meals, dozens of hours in the car together…when else do you get to spend a whole week with your students? Every morning, we connect with God through prayer and worship before we head out to campus. We reach students together, encourage and challenge each other, and then we celebrate as a team with stories at the end of each night.
Second, we grow. Our team goes through a daily devotional and then we activate our faith in the harvest. Students take faith risks by starting conversations with students on campus and sharing their story, or leading a Gospel Appointment for the first time. For some students, being on a new campus provides an opportunity to take new risks that they’ve been hesitant to take on their own campus. Since they’re less likely to see these students again, they can overcome their fear of rejection and learn to trust God in a new way. Once they see God come through, it builds their faith to continue to take new risks when they’re back home.
And lastly, we go. Our teams get to live like full-time campus missionaries for a week with no distractions, no schoolwork, just a church family fulfilling the Great Commission on a college campus. Since it’s a short-term trip, our teams are focused, operate with a sense of urgency and they motivate each other to reach as many students as possible. You’d be amazed at how much God can move through a team that’s going. Last year, in just a few days, our team of 178 students and graduates met over 3,800 students, had 130 Gospel Appointments, and saw 42 students pray to surrender their lives to Jesus. Most importantly, we make sure to connect those students with the ministries we partner with so they can continue to follow-up and help them grow in their faith after our team goes back home.
So we connect, grow, and go.
But it doesn’t end there. Our teams return home with a new sense of passion to reach others, and the momentum from spring break carries over into Easter which is typically only a matter of weeks away at that point.
So, how much could one week catalyze your mission mobilization?
For our movement, it’s made all the difference.
So I’d encourage you to leverage this opportunity and invest in a spring break mission trip as well. It’s costly, and the work on the front end is time-consuming, but the return on the investment is worth every penny and every hour.