SNU boasts largest group to serve as ‘Youth in Mission’

Thirty-nine students from Southern Nazarene University will devote their summer to serving others as a part of the Youth in Mission (YIM) program that provides “an opportunity for college students everywhere to be involved in an extreme encounter with God and others through a short-term mission experience.”

For more than thirty years, Youth in Mission has placed teams of college and university students from the United States and Canada in ministry sites around the world each summer. Each student selected commits to a 12-week extensive “advance training” program during the spring, raises a ministry contribution to the program, participates in a one-week training camp, and serves for eight weeks during the summer at an assigned location followed by a time of debriefing. Once to their designated sites, student teams will engage a variety of outreach activities such as friendship evangelism, teaching English as a second language, urban ministry, youth camps, children’s ministry, and youth ministry.

Of the 90+ students selected this year, SNU accounts for the largest percentage of participants with a record 39 students. In the history of Youth in Mission, thirty-nine is the largest number of students from any one school to ever participate in the program at one time.

“We’re getting large numbers of students involved in a missions trip for a minimal investment on our part. We publicize the opportunities and help with training, but the Youth in Mission Office takes care of all the organizing and planning. It’s a great partnership for us!” said Dr. Howard Culbertson, Professor of Missions.

Over the last five years, SNU has had more than 500 students involved in some form of summer mission tour like Youth in Mission or musical missions tour, and camp work.

The YIM program is designed to provide assistance to the missions fields, to help the students in their spiritual growth and development, and to create global Christians.

“As they’re a part of spreading the gospel in another culture and worldview, students get a clearer idea of the core essentials of Christianity,” said Culbertson.

“I never could have expected the extent that my spiritual and emotional worldviews would be broadened. I will never be able to quantify the lasting affects,” said senior Brent LaVigne of his YIM experience to Australia last summer. “I was able to take part in the work of the church internationally. That experience alone, to be able to take part in the kingdom of God with people normally worlds away, is one of the most galvanizing experiences a Christian can hope for. God took me where I had prayed that he would on my journey, but I never imagined how amazing the journey could be. The journey was to the complete end of my understanding, my opinions, and my self. God challenged and stretched me farther than I could have ever hoped for.”

This year’s YIM ministry sites span the regions of Africa, Asia/South Pacific, Europe, South America/Caribbean, and the United States. While some teams will travel to locations as far as Sydney, Australia and parts of Africa, others will be stationed stateside in cities such as Los Angeles, California and Baltimore, Maryland.

Youth in Mission is affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene and actively recruits college-age students between the ages of 18-25. Attending a Nazarene college or university is not a pre-requisite for qualification into the YIM program.

For more information about Youth in Mission, contact the Youth in Mission office at 816.333.7000, by e-mail at, or visit