Since 2009, NextGen Ministries at all Houston’s First campuses have invested in kids through strategic, missions-focused summer and spring break overnight trips. No longer just for community-building and adventure — although both are great things — NextGen trips exist to strategically train kids in missions. As part of this strategy, students attend their first event in 3rd grade and have four other opportunities to grow in their understanding and practice of missions by the time they’re a graduating senior.
“Each experience is meant to build upon the previous one,” says Doug Bischoff, Next Generations Minister at The Loop Campus. “Over the course of the five events, students are learning and being equipped to make disciples. They don’t just learn about missions, but have several days to practice what they’ve learned. We pray the result is a student on mission with God for a lifetime.”
Since this model was implemented, students at Houston’s First’s campuses have gained a greater understanding of the Great Commission and have learned methods and tools for sharing the Gospel with their peers and families back home.
“Students come home from these trips with a greater understanding of their purpose in God’s kingdom,” says Tony Bianco, Student Minister at The Loop Campus. “Since students learn new ways to evangelize and share the Gospel on these trips, we often see them connecting to their peers and friends with a more intentional approach once home.”
Starting with Preteen Camp in 3rd grade and ending with the opportunity to go on an international mission trip in 11th and 12th grades, these trips are broken down by age, distance from home, length, missions focus, and more. Children and students from every campus come together to take part in these unique opportunities.
Preteen Camp: EXCITE
Preteen Camp gives kids who have finished 3rd-5th grades the opportunity to build strong friendships while being challenged to go deeper in their spiritual walk. This yearly summer camp in Texas aims to excite kids about missions by introducing them to missional opportunities.
Camp Rush: EXPLORE
Camp Rush is summer camp with a taste of missions for students who have completed 6th-8th grades. Alongside common summer camp activities like worship, Bible study, and outdoor activities, students are able to explore missional service opportunities at this Texas-based camp.
Rush Week: EQUIP
Rush Week is a unique missions and summer camp hybrid for high school students who have completed 9th-12th grades. This trip to Florida equips students as they learn about evangelism, serving others, and their unique spiritual giftings from God.
Rushmore is a spring break trip for 10th-12th graders to a metropolitan area like New York City or Washington, DC. Building on the evangelism skills learned at Rush Week, students are encouraged to embrace a mindset of missional living as they share their faith in a diverse environment and work with more challenging ministries.
HUB International: ESTABLISH
As NextGen ministries begin to wrap up for 11th and 12th grade students, the Hub International summer trip provides an opportunity to establish missional living habits that will last a lifetime. On this international trip, students are able to see the Christian faith lived out in other countries and work, live, and minister side-by-side with those in the country they’re serving.
Through these trips and other year-round missions activities, NextGen Ministries at Houston’s First aim to equip students throughout their formative years with skills that will enable them to go, whether near or far, to make disciples of all nations for the rest of their lives.