Teen Missions was founded in 1970 by a group of men and women who were passionate about getting youth involved in missions. The founder and director, Robert M. Bland, spent many years as a Youth For Christ director in Chillicothe, Ohio and recruitment director for the Christian Service Corps. The years he spent in ministry made him aware of several things that birthed the idea of Teen Missions:
- There were many young people who wanted to serve the Lord in missions, but were not extremely talented and did not have the required skills.
- A young girl once said that everyone had explained to her, “Come back when you have finished college and then you can get involved in the Lord’s work.” She stated, “I want to do something for the Lord now, not five years from now.”
- In many mission conferences there were no teenagers present at all. They evidently felt that missions were for older people. Mr. Bland felt there was an obvious need to get teenagers involved since they are the next generation of missionaries and leaders.
The innovative idea of involving teenagers in missions continued to develop and that summer the first Teen Missions team embarked to the country of Mexico. Though it was a meager beginning, the program took off and now boasts of over 40 teams that travel to 30 some countries each year. The goal of Teen Missions is to awaken teenagers to the needs in missions, acquaint them with the reality of life on the mission field and give them an opportunity to serve the Lord through work projects and evangelism. Each team member is required to raise their own support to cover the cost of their summer team, which gives them practical experience in raising finances, similar to what other missionaries must do before they go overseas. The money the teens raise goes towards building costs, plane tickets, food and any other supplies needed for their time overseas.