*There is a special message from CHCS at the end of this article*
Ken Smitherman, President ACSI (retired 2009)
It is a tradition among most Christian schools to provide rich outreach and service projects as
opportunities to expose students to experiences that touch the world of real people and real situations—to life in
some of the most challenging circumstances. These experiences give students the
life-changing opportunity to make a difference.
Many of those schools offer short-term mission trips that not only engage students in an array of
good-will projects but also integrate opportunities for students to engage in disciple making. In these cases, students
tell others about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how they might know Him.
The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) provides a special service to Christian schools by assisting
them in offering such short-term mission trips for their high school students.
During the past year, ACSI assisted 12 schools across North America in developing trips to Dominican Republic,
Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Russia, and South Africa. Nearly 200 students participated in these mission
trips. These mission teams visit homes, orphanages, and hospitals; conduct church
services; help with Bible schools and basic English classes; and serve in other types of ministry requested by the
host organization. Trips generally last from 10 days to three weeks..
In addition to these ACSI-planned mission trips, hundreds of other schools work with churches and mission
agencies to provide these rich learning opportunities for their students. Perhaps one or more of your own students
will be participating in one of these life-changing experiences in the coming weeks.
Individual student testimonies reflect the powerful results of short-term mission trips. Abbey, a team member to
Paraguay, wrote, “Paraguay was the point in my life when God really showed me my gifts and began to change
me…I’m glad that God changed me—His plan for me is so much better than mine for myself.”
Christian schooling is not about providing a fortress where students learn to hunker down and avoid the world
and a pervasively negative culture. Rather, Christian schools provide places where students can launch into reallife
lab experiences such as short-term mission trips and other outreach and service
opportunities. As I reflect on my years as a Christian school administrator, I can identify no single
curricular activity that has had a greater or more lasting influence on students’ lives than personal
involvement in mission trips.
In the Spring of 2002 students from C.H.C.S. were able to participate in an ACSI coordinated mission trip to
Guatemala. It proved to be a very positive experience for all who were involved. For the past four mission trips
we have chosen to go to Lynch, Kentucky. Lynch is a community in the Appalachian Mountains that suffers
from extreme poverty because of low-income and high degree of unemployment. Residents in that area also have
major problems with drug and alcohol abuse. On those trips we have provided support to people who are
ministering full time to the local residents as well as providing help to improve learning conditions in a local
The determiners as to where we go on our mission trips include: do we believe that God is directing us to a
certain location; do we have parents who are willing to chaperone that trip and what amount of money will we
need. If you are willing to chaperone future mission trips or if you know of a different place where we could go
to minister the love of God to people, please let us know.