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O Youth Pastor, Where Art Thou?

Youth pastors lead the bulk of short-term mission teams, yet they seem uninterested in mission training. How can leaders in the STM community help?

Each October I attend an annual conference sponsored by the Fellowship of Short-Term Mission Leaders. We bring together leaders connected to this movement that has become known as short-term mission (STM) to learn, dream, and improve what has grown into a millions-of-people, billion-dollar-a-year enterprise.

We have people directing ministries, practitioners, senior and mission pastors, authors, team leaders, host receivers, and service providers. The only folks typically missing are youth pastors.

That's right. The leaders responsible for sending a great percentage of our short-term people around the globe are not just underrepresented. They are not represented at all. There was not one youth pastor in attendance at this year's conference.

Where are the youth leaders?

If you are like me, wonder why not one person responsible for leading and inspiring students felt it was worth their time to receive four days of training to be better international short-term missionaries.

So I started asking ...

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