On June 28, 28 youth and adults from First Christian Church-Troy set off on a 15-hour road trip to Millersville, Maryland. Their mission: to connect with 300 other youth and adults to improve the living conditions for many families. This meant painting, drywalling, constructing of decks and fences, roofing, and even pulling weeds. But their mission went even deeper than that. They created relationships with the residents of these homes, youth they worked with, and each other. But most importantly, they strengthened their relationship with Christ through mission, worship, and fellowship.
This trip was planned and organized by Group Mission Trips. Each year, Group organizes many different mission sites around the country. In 2018, Troy, MO was a host of one of those mission sites. FCC-Troy has been going on Group mission trips since the mid-1990s. These trips allow individual churches to cross theological and ideological divides to unite as the hands and feet of Christ. The 330 youth and adults in Millersville, MD were from Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Catholic, Methodist, and Disciples of Christ churches. For a week their denominational affiliation was less important than their desire to serve Christ and others. They did not know it, but they were living out the mission of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to be “a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.”
There were 26 homes worked on in Millersville. Crews of 6-12 youth and adults traveled to these homes each day to complete their projects. All supplies and materials were delivered to these homes prior to the group’s arrival. The host church, Nichols-Bethel United Methodist Church, organized the delivery of supplies. Each project had a Site Coach. Site Coaches are Group Mission Trip volunteers who have experience in construction and home improvement. There were many other volunteers, called “Red Shirts” (because they wore red shirts all week) who cleaned the living spaces, planned and led worship services, and much more. There were multiple worship and devotion times worked into the daily schedule. Every night concluded with youth group discussions, which were major bonding moments for the group from FCC-Troy. Wednesday was a half-day of work, and then each church group had free time. FCC chose to explore the downtown area of Annapolis. They also enjoyed a local delicacy: Chesapeake blue crab.
Mission trips are a vital part of the faith development of youth and young adults. They create “holy space” where God becomes the focus. FCC-Troy looks forward to many more mission trips in the future.
Thanks to FCC pastor Rev. Dr. Jeff Moore for this story and photos.