By Aaron Earls
Beginning next summer, the six-day events will be educational and missions experiences, said Dave MacNeill of Lifeway Students. “Infusion Missions involves students in hands-on experiences related to social justice and felt needs,” he said. “Infusion will excel in educating students on how the gospel addresses the believer’s responsibility to be aware of and involved in social justice.”
As awareness of social justice issues increases, according to MacNeill, many Millennials and members of Generation Z are trending away from traditional mission trips. Infusion seeks to connect evangelism with meeting the needs of individuals.
“This is not a social gospel,” MacNeill said. “This is an intentional strategy to share the gospel of Christ in a social justice ministry and context.” For him, it’s a matter of fulfilling both the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.
Social justice ministries often work to establish long-term local relationships, and confront issues like poverty, racism, lack of education and lack of health care, said MacNeill. “We want students to approach these issues with a gospel motivation,” he said.
In 2017, teams will choose from six different week long events in three cities: Atlanta, Memphis, and Philadelphia. During the events, students will have the opportunity to live, eat, worship and minister outside their everyday context.
“It will be intentionally immersive with hopes that students will see themselves as ambassadors of justice within their own context,” according to MacNeill. “We want to develop lifelong gospel sharers as they meet social justice needs in their own communities as well.”
Jesus was clearly interested in meeting the needs of those often ignored by society, MacNeill points out. He references Jesus’ quoting of Isaiah. “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the captives and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19 HCSB).
Lifeway Students named the experience Infusion, because it conveys what they hope to accomplish with participants. “Infusion is a unique term defined as ‘the process of introducing a quality or new element into something’,” said MacNeill. “We want to introduce students to an environment where lasting change can happen in the way they view and engage the world and its needs.”
MacNeill believes Infusion can be a seminal event in the lives of participants. “Students will be challenged through experiences designed to open their hearts towards the oppressed and marginalized. They will witness these needs first-hand,” he said. “Students will learn and understand the need for and impact of the gospel in the social justice, felt needs context.”
He also said students will learn to share the gospel in the social justice context and will develop a heart of humility towards communities that are different from their own.
For more information about Infusion, visit InfusionMissions.com.
Aaron Earls is a writer for Lifeway Christian Resources.