SURGEWith great excitement I’m embarking on a great new ministry for kids at Cross Timbers. This July I’ll be taking a team of 40 to Mexico on a missions trip. Although mission trips to Mexico are about a common as Baptist Churches in the South, the unique element of SURGE is that we’re taking 4th and 5th graders.

Honestly, my idea to take 10 and 11 year olds out of the country isn’t because I’m a risk-taking junkie (although some adults may think from the way I run lock-ins). Actually the idea to begin SURGE was birthed in me almost 5 years ago. Having done extensive short-term missions work, there is no doubt I have a heart for the lost, especially the unreached. My passion for missions has undoubtedly influenced my ministry to kids (all the kids are very familiar with T.H.U.M.B. and the 10/40 window). I know that God calls some to full-missions even as young as children… but the opportunities are very rare. Last of all, I know that a mission trip experience can be like Miracle Grow for a young person’s faith as well as an excellent opportunity to plant a vision for world missions. So I concocted a plan for outreach and missions for 3rd-5th graders. First of all, SURGE would be directly connected to our Small Group ministry. This will be for kids who are connected and being discipled. Kids who have completed the third grade would be eligible to attend a 2-3 day mission trip to the DFW area (that’s our location). They’d spend the night on a gym floor and do service projects and some relational ministry to underprivileged kids or the elderly. It would be ministry to people who aren’t that different from us. Then, 4th graders would be eligible to attend a 3-4 day trip to a Native American reservation. We would still be in the United States, but ministering to a different culture. Last of all, 5th graders would be eligible to attend a 3-4 day trip to Mexico. This would be ministering to people from a different culture and a different country. On each of these trips, the leaders are supporting the kids to develop their ministry muscles. Too often kids attend mission trips where they are along to help where they are needed (glorified gophers). This isn’t bad and is still a great experience. However, SURGE turns the table on that model and exists to empower kids for ministry and outreach.

This year, SURGE is a big experiment. Ideally I would have started with the local trip first and added locations each year, but the opportunity for Mexico presented itself first. I scoped out the location last summer and it’s going to be perfect. In order to get some participants, I opened the trip up to both 4th and 5th graders and did not limit it only to kids who are in our Small Group ministry (but next year I will for sure). I’ve got about 20 kids and about 20 adults attending. About 5 kids are going without parents and 15 going with one or more parents.

Here is my main reason for this post. For close to 9 months, I’ve been trying to contact churches and organizations who have experience taking kids this age on missions trips. I’ve been amazed at how everyone has not returned my calls or emails. I didn’t see any reason to re-invent the wheel here, but my hand was forced. I’d love to see more opportunities for kids to grow in this area. I’ll document this entire process on this website and share it with anyone wanting more information. You can also visit our SURGE blog where I post all our meeting information, documents and details. I’m also open to ideas and comments from others who may have experience in this. There is a real vacuume of information on this type of ministry and hopefully this would be the start of changing that.