Tuesday, 04 April 2017 04:52

Hope Missions: Helping Churches and Individuals Bring Hope to the Hopeless

Written by  Ashley Sherlock
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“I didn’t want to start a missions organization that looked like existing ones. I wanted to set myself apart from everyone else.”

In 1999, after 15 years of being a Youth Pastor, Shawn Doss took his students on a short-term mission trip. It was this first-ever mission trip that inspired Shawn to continue taking these trips, and eventually spearhead his own missions organization.


Shawn contacted Oak Park Baptist church in New Orleans in 2007 to ask them to book his youth group for a week-long mission trip. This was during the time that Oak Park was hosting hundreds of volunteers every week for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The church told Shawn to bring 300 people with him. He had 30.


After contacting everyone he knew, Shawn ended up bringing 200 participants on the New Orleans trip. There were churches from Texas to South Carolina and everywhere in between, representing 12 different churches, many of which had never been on a short-term mission trip before. The trip was such a success that Shawn planned another one the next year, with another 200 participants from all over the country. 


Years later, in 2009, Shawn quit his youth pastoring job to begin his mission efforts. He tapped into a group of churches that had never done mission trips before because of the high cost or simply the lack of knowing what to do. In 2011, what is now Hope Missions had its official launch.


During the initial stages of the execution of Shawn’s dream, he decided that he wanted his missions organization to stand out from the other ones. He began by developing a quality experience at an affordable rate, and stateside trip with Hope Missions are almost $100 less than many short-term trips provided by organizations. Shawn also wanted his organization to be able to provide both ministry and construction on the trips instead of one or the other.


“Our international trips are flexible enough to take the gifts and talents of the participants and put them into practice during the week.”


Shawn’s biggest priority, though, was that the mission trips be focused on the Gospel. The projects done on the trips are merely platforms on which to engage the community with the Gospel.


Now, Shawn spends a lot of his Sundays and Wednesdays on the road, traveling to different churches that are either participating in a Hope Missions trip or wanting to learn how to get involved in one.


“As a Youth Pastor, my favorite part of missions was as a participant. I loved working alongside my students on the mission field. Now, my participation in the actual mission activities has taken more of a “behind the scenes” role. Now I get great enjoyment out of producing a quality experience for churches and individuals to experience the excitement of short-term missions. I also treasure the relationships with church and ministry leaders that I have the privilege to work closely with around the world. Helping strengthen their ministries guarantees that our efforts will have long-lasting results.”


Shawn loves hearing stories about what happens after the mission trips. Many participants have never shared their faith with anyone before going on a trip with Hope Missions, and Shawn says that every year, there are groups and individuals alike who have taken their training and continued to be a witness when they get home. Shawn is particularly excited about the “stories we will never hear about this side of Heaven.”


There are a lot of lessons learned in running a missions organization. Shawn says the biggest one he’s learned through Hope Missions is dependence on God.


“There have been times that I have been discouraged and worried, but God is always faithful. I also know that God is not only faithful to me personally, He is faithful to His mission – the proclamation of the Gospel to the nations. If I stop tomorrow, God’s mission will not stop. This is His mission. I’m excited to be a small part of it.”


Hope Missions currently leads 20 mission trips per year. In 2016, they organized and executed trips to every major part of the world (United States, Central America, Caribbean, South America, Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia). In the future, Shawn is looking into doing more trips in fewer locations in order to make a greater impact.


If you would like Shawn to come to your church, to go one a trip with Hope Missions or to get more information on Shawn and Hope Missions, visit www.hopemissionstrips.com. There are also opportunities to be involved with Hope Missions even if a mission trip isn’t an option for you. Hope Missions partners with churches all over to do projects that directly impact the ministries, and anyone can help.


Hope Missions has a free app available on iPhone, Android and Windows. It can be downloaded at www.thegospelapp.org. There is also on email newsletter you can sign up for by texting HOPEMISSIONS to 22828.


A Florida native, Ashley Sherlock made the transition to Alabama to pursue a degree in English. She has a passion for the written word, an affinity for the outdoors, a love for people, and a desire for the Lord.




Last modified on Tuesday, 04 April 2017 05:00
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