The IMB Student Team is providing an opportunity for students to reach the nations through the Stateside Summer initiative. Stateside Summer empowers students to reach the nations this summer without leaving the U.S. Students will participate in missions activities, learn about unreached and unengaged people groups, connect with missionaries and share the gospel with their family, friends and in their communities.
While students won’t be traveling overseas, Stateside Summer will allow students to connect digitally with missionaries they would have served alongside in person. This program provides an alternative to the almost 2,500 students who planned to serve overseas with the IMB this summer. As a result of travel restrictions due to COVID-19, continued lockdowns and closed borders, IMB summer student mission trips for summer 2020 have been canceled.
Instead, IMB missionaries will offer ways for students to be a part of their mobilization and discipleship strategies online. Missionaries will also provide information on their people groups, as well as training material the students would have received in person.
George Siler, student leaders manager at the IMB, emphasized the crucial role student volunteers play in the ministry strategies of IMB missionaries. Every year, students help advance the gospel and enable missionaries to expand their gospel reach. This summer will be no different.
“God is not surprised by COVID-19, nor is He stopped by it,” Siler says.
Students have unique opportunities to serve in creative ways this summer.
“Don’t let COVID-19 stop you from serving God and others right where you are,” Siler encourages students. “God has given us this summer in U.S. For such a time as this, God brought you all this summer to reach our country for His name’s sake.”
Chris Mills, a state missionary with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, communicated his appreciation for the IMB’s opportunities for students to serve despite the pandemic.
“Students made plans to give their summer to serve all across the globe. The challenges from COVID-19 have prevented that … or so they may have thought,” Mills said. “I’m grateful for IMB reminding students of this calling and commitment, providing Stateside Summer as an encouragement to be engaged with the nations here, while praying and being equipped to serve the nations there [internationally]. I’m excited to see how God will use this reassignment to make tremendous Kingdom impact across the globe!”
Summer Stateside provides the following opportunities for students:
Learn about missions
Students will have the opportunity to learn, grow and dive into missional discipleship through articles, podcasts, books, maps and apps.
Students and student team leaders will connect weekly through video calls, texts, GroupMe, Facebook groups, and when possible, in-person meetings. A variety of options will be provided for students to serve together as a team. Students will connect with a missionary and serve with them digitally. Those who are already assigned to a project this summer will work with their assigned field supervisor and missionary. New students who join Stateside Summer will be connected with a missionary team.
Students will be encouraged to be a missions mobilizer in their communities. Students can serve by cultivating a culture of missions in their church, campus ministry or local community. Students will be equipped to help their community pray, give, go and send to the nations.
Evangelism is a key component of missions. Students will be challenged to be a missionary in their communities. Students will pick “one” person that they will commit to pray for and share the gospel with throughout the summer.
Invest in internationals
Within U.S. borders, students have access to unreached and unengaged people groups from around the globe. This summer is an opportunity for students to engage with immigrants, refugees and international student populations. The IMB Student Team will resource, equip, and empower students, churches and campuses to engage the nations.
Stateside Summer will host three virtual events to allow students to engage in international ministry. Students are invited to these three events to engage with missionaries, learn more about future opportunities, receive education and learn about future training opportunities. Learn more.
Students who have already committed to summer trips, as well as students who have not signed up but are interested in being a part of Stateside Summer, can sign up for more information here.
Student mission trips during 2020 fall and winter breaks, as well as mission trips scheduled for spring break of 2021, will continue as planned.
Students interested in Summer 2021 mission trips can apply now .
Caroline Anderson is a writer for the IMB.
This article was originally published by the International Mission Board at imb.org