Whether you've heard about us from a friend, know someone who went on
missions with us, or simply searched the web for a missions
organization, we're glad that you're here!
You want to follow in Jesus's example in the way he cared for the lost
and the hurting. You want to take up Jesus's commission to make
disciples of all nations (Matthew 28) and be his witness to the ends
of the earth (Acts 1).
We want to mobilize people to missions as a means of discipleship, and
we've been at it for over twenty years. We want to help you mobilize
and disciple others.
Thank you for checking us out and considering partnership with us. The
body of Christ stretches so much further than we could ever imagine
and we're privileged to partner with the members of his body all over
the world. We hope to join with you in this adventure!
About Adventures in Missions
Adventures in Missions is an interdenominational missions organization that focuses on discipleship. We emphasize prayer and relationships in our work around the world.
Since we were established in 1989, we have taken over 115,000 people into the mission field, some for as short as a week and others for as long as a year or longer. We minister year-round through our ministry bases and strategic ministry partnerships. We believe that by giving people the opportunity to step outside their comfort zones and join what God is doing in other cultures and nations, lives are transformed.
We seek to disciple as Jesus did; our vision is that God would use us to raise up a generation of radically committed disciples of Jesus Christ.
We exist to awaken and activate people worldwide to their identity and role in the Kingdom of God.
Deeply connecting to Jesus and His Movement.
What We Believe
Statement of Faith
We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God and is authoritative and infallible in the original writings.
We believe in one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of God the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
We believe that faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is essential for the salvation of lost and sinful man.
We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
We believe in the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and eternal life.
We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in Jesus Christ.
We emphasize interdenominationalism. The main thing is to make the main thing the main thing. We are tolerant of a variety of beliefs and practices within the mainstream of Christian practice. Where there is excess, we seek to be a force for moderation.
We emphasize the unity of the body of Christ. We are ministers of reconciliation. We seek to bring pastors and churches together in ministry. We do not exalt certain gifts, but we understand the body of Christ needs them all to be balanced.
We emphasize partnership through the local church. The local church is God’s vehicle for discipleship. We seek to work through it. We connect short term missions groups with local churches around the world to further establish the Kingdom of God.
We mobilize and make disciples. At our core, we are a discipleship organization. We desire for God to use us to raise up a generation of radically committed disciples of Christ and send them out to the nations. We believe this is our part in fulfilling the Great Commission. We understand Jesus did not call us to get people to say a prayer but to enter into a lifestyle. We balance boldness with love. We look for opportunities to be witnesses, but we seek to ensure follow-up.
We emphasize listening prayer. We believe God wants to communicate with us daily in a personal way. We ask, listen, and obey, asking God for guidance, listening for His response, and obeying Him to the best of our ability. When He says go, we go. When He says stay, we stay. We believe intimacy with the Father enhances the ability to recognize His voice: “My sheep know my voice” (John 10:27).
We emphasize the church without walls. We go to those needing ministry rather than expecting them to come to us. The Church is not a building or a denomination.
We emphasize ministry to the poor, the oppressed, and the hopeless. Our ministry focus is on the lost sheep that society shuns. In a given city, we will go to that darkest and most hopeless place first.
We innovate and fail fast. At Adventures we keep a fast-paced environment that stays in sync with the changes going on in our world. We are constantly innovating to improve our programs and organization. When we fail, we fail fast, fix our mistakes, and move on.
We empower people to go and grow something. Our programs intentionally empower participants to be part of something that matters. We want to cultivate long-term, global change in people and projects that will continue long after our work is done. We have a kingdom-of-God paradigm that is bigger than just the reach of our ministry, and we encourage participants to adopt the same mindset.
We put people before projects. As a discipleship organization, we highly value people. Although projects are necessary and exciting, we make decisions with people as our primary concern. All projects should empower the people working on them as well as benefit those included in them.
Our Beliefs and Actions in Response to Racism in America.
Racism is a sin against God and man. The history of racism in America is abhorrent and must not be accepted or allowed to continue. Christ followers and the Church in all its forms should reflect God’s hatred of injustice and His compassion for those who are hurt by it.
Man was created in the image of God. This includes all races. A sin against man is a sin against God. Racism is an affront to God and His people. Genesis 1:27
Scripture instructs us to seek righteousness, justice and mercy. Micah 6:8
We are commissioned as followers of Christ to be a force for His Kingdom. Therefore we will stand against all forms of racism in any dimension of society. Seeking the Kingdom should come first above political, social and racial constructs.
We acknowledge that religion has been invoked to support racism and we break all agreement with it.
We covenant to identify ourselves as members together of the body of Christ and ambassadors of the kingdom of God above any cultural, social, political, or economic identification or affiliation.
From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth and we will be agents of reconciliation and unity. Acts 17:26
We will advocate for the voice and the life of those impacted by racism until righteousness, justice and equality are achieved. Amos 5
We will exhort all people within our influence to embrace these core principles.
Actively look for opportunities to learn and grow as well as to partner with those working toward understanding, reconciliation and healing. This includes personal engagement at all levels of the organization as well in our program decisions.
Seek to have our leadership, teachers and speakers better reflect the diversity found in the Body of Christ and among our participants.
Commit to pray that God and His people will serve to break the bondage of racism in this nation.
Increase training on diversity to better prepare participants to understand, love and serve those on their teams as well as those they are ministering to.
Meet the People
Seth Barnes, Executive Director
Seth Barnes is founder and president of Adventures in Missions, a discipleship and missions ministry that has taken over 125,000 people on mission projects around the world since 1989. The mission of Adventures is to deeply connect people to Jesus and his movement. Their goal is to train 100,000 disciple makers focused on fulfilling the Great Commission. Adventures has ministry training centers around the world that are focused on making that goal a reality.
To move toward the fulfillment of the vision, Seth also founded the World Race in 2005. The World Race provides trained teams of young adults the opportunity to engage in 11 international mission contexts in 11 months using an experiential, missional discipleship model. Adventures emphasizes listening prayer, relationships, and servanthood in their work amongst the poor. Both through ministry/training centers and World Race ministry teams, Adventures maintains an active presence in a number of African countries. In addition to overseeing Adventures in Missions, Seth is a speaker, author, and prolific blogger. His blog, Radical Living, can be found at www.sethbarnes.com. Seth is married to Karen. They have five children and seven grandchildren.
Gareth Keown, Chief Operating Officer
Gareth Keown brings 25 years of pastoral and executive experience to his role as the Chief Operating Officer with Adventures in Missions. Since emigrating from South Africa at the age of 19, Gareth has operated in more than 100 nations. He’s played a variety of roles in improving organizational capacity, both the for-profit and non-profit sectors; most recently, serving as the COO of RevJen. As an organizational leader, Gareth offers a fresh, strategic perspective to our multigenerational focus on global missions and discipleship.
Adventures in Missions does an amazing job of blending healthy discipleship and spiritual formation with Holy Spirit empowered missiology. Their theology is solid and their mission is clear. Jesus is their message and His Kingdom come is their goal. It is my great joy to partner with them. I strongly recommend to you the powerful ministry of Adventures in Missions.
My team was exceptionally blessed. There was a wide variety of ministry opportunities... We faced trials and hard times, but overall my team worked incredibly well together and finished strong. Overall the ministries we worked with were Kingdom focused and [represented] displayed the needs of the world.
Adventures in Missions is honestly one of or if at least, the best Christian missions organizations that I have ever worked with or been a part of. God has used you in amazing ways and taught me so much in every area of my life -- emotionally, physically & spiritually! I am forever grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to be apart of Adventures and the World Race and will definitely continue to recommend to any and all.
Thank you for taking the time to care about my heart more than I ever did and for bringing me to life. And for fighting for me and with me to get me to the gates of the kingdom lifestyle, so that Jesus himself could walk me through. You are amazing. There isn't more I could say.
That night, we saw the deaf hear, the blind see, and many people with back pains, headaches, stomach pains, and all sorts of afflictions healed right in front of us! That sort of thing became regular, or as regular as miracles can become.
I can sum up my World Race experience in one word: Kingdom. Because in that word is the depth of true community, God's heart for the orphaned, widowed and sex-trafficked, a hope-filled way to engage the world and the fullness of God which is the love of Jesus. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing else I want to give my life to.
For those who may see the World Race as just another mission trip, I would have to disagree. It's a classroom where the gifts God gives people and the realities of how those gifts were intended to shape and shake the world come together, completely changing a life, spanning the globe through relationship after relationship.
God has a massive heart to love, forgive, and bring freedom, and he has given me a glimpse of it- I now hurt when someone hurts, I have passion for people in ways I can’t describe. I love deeper than ever even though my flesh wants to sometimes reject, but Gods love has completely overtaken me.
In Through Painted Deserts, Donald Miller opens with the concept of “leaving.” He explains the spiritual importance for him of making a simple move from Texas to Oregon. It opened up a whole new world for him – new places, new perspectives, new people. It made him appreciate going back home so much more.
Some young Christians from the United States are preparing for a near year-long missions trip, during which time they will give up their comfortable lifestyle to live like the indigenous people in eleven countries.
One of our writers, Curt Devine shares his experience on the World Race, an 11-month missions trip to 11 different countries. We asked him to reflect on what he’d seen, to offer us snapshots—both visual and written—of his trip around the world, from urban slums and red-light districts to prisons, rural churches and orphanages.
Shannon Meador wanted more in her life. A passionate follower of Christ and lover of adventure, working a desk job in central Illinois just wasn’t cutting it, so she went in search of an exciting opportunity that would allow her to serve God.
ANTIGUA, Guatemala — Javier Villatoro grew up without a mom and dad in Guatemala City. He dropped out of school in his late teens to learn to cut Guatemalan jade and other precious stones and to work silver with Argentinean jewelers.
Rosemary McDermott and her husband opened a safe containing a family genealogy in the Breezy Point section of Queens. They salvaged the safe from the basement of Rosemary’s mother’s home after Superstorm Sandy.
The World Race is a unique missions trip that takes young adults into 11 countries in 11 months to serve while living in community. Brandon, our Catalyst Racer, has taken the challenge to abandon his worldly possessions (all except a backpack) and pursuit of the American Dream to experience how God is moving.
Simply put, missions is bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who don't know him as Lord and Savior.
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." -- Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. -- Acts 1:8 (NIV)
There are no limits in territory, people, places, or methods used to reach those who are lost; and God’s desire is that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9). God has a specific plan for us, a direct call and a clear will for every person.
God's call to each individual is unique and specific to them. He uses their upbringing, surrounding environment, and experiences and couples them with his vision, goals and desires, to shape them into a unique tool for His hands to mold and guide and use (Ephesians 2:10).
God's will is for each individual to love God and love people, the
first and second greatest commandments (Matthew 22:36-40). The great
commission, found in Matthew 28:18-20, is an expression of those
commandments to love. Jesus also tells us he has empowered us with
authority and his presence.
Why do we go on mission trips?
We go, plan, organize, implement, and lead mission trips as a response to God. We go on missions:
because we share God's heart for the lost
to reach the lost for Jesus
to train participants how to hear God's voice
to disciple other Christians, especially youth, to reach the lost
until Christ returns.
Our ultimate hope is that your desire for God's kingdom to come here
on earth will outgrow our programmatic capacity. Short-term missions
is the vehicle through which we mobilize people onto life-long
discipleship, long-term missions. Not only do we desire for your
perspective to change but for your life to be transformed; to see a
generation radical and sold out for God.
How did missions begin?
You can debate who was the first missionary from Job to Jesus. The
truth is that when Adam and Eve fell, God's plan to redeem mankind to
himself was put into action. Jesus is the greatest missionary of all;
he paid the ultimate price to redeem man and reconcile him to God.
Missions was God's design and his heart from the beginning. We in the
Church today have mistakenly thought of missions as a New Testament
thing, a relatively new idea, but the truth is God has desired all
peoples, nations, and tongues come to him from the beginning. God's
covenant with Abraham was that he would bless nations.
God has set his sight on all the world to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus. That's his heart, his vision, his desire.
Board of Directors
Seth Barnes - Executive Director
James Rebbavarapu - Chairman
Overland Park, KS
Winter Garden, FL
Accountability for the resources that God has entrusted Adventures in Missions begins first of all with our awareness that those who share their time, money, and prayers with Adventures view us as stewards. We know that God sees and weighs the merits of our every action. The parable of the master and the wise steward applies to each of us. It is therefore our objective to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all that we do, particularly in the larger decisions that we make.
Given man's frailty and inherent corruptibility, checks and balances are necessary. We have put such mechanisms in place to make a statement that Adventures staff want to be above reproach in all that they do. Our own board of directors meets regularly to review the direction and performance of the ministry.
Executive Director Seth Barnes founded Adventures in Missions. He worked out of his garage to lead nearly 1,000 youth to the mission field over the next three years.
The demand for trips exploded and Seth moved Adventures from his home to a storefront office.
The Ambassador program began, offering students ages 14-18 the opportunity to go on 2-4 week trips.
The Gateway, the Adventures Mexico Base began reaching out to the people of Matamoros with food, clothing, diapers, and house construction.
Adventures expanded its programs beyond its original focus on youth groups, sending thousands of adults, families, and college students to minister around the world.
Adventures Eswatini Base opened its first Carepoint, a gathering place where orphans and vulnerable children are fed, educated, and discipled.
The World Race began as an idea that God gave Anna Marie Franken for young people to go on a pilgrimage around the world in order to understand and experience God personally, serve in communities in which they would have an impact, and leave behind a lasting contribution.
She shared the idea with Seth Barnes, who began exploring the possibilities of what he conceptually saw as a race that featured competitive components, leaving behind both substantial fruit through church planting and tangible objects for future Racers to find.
In January, the pilot World Race launched from Mexico and pioneered in regions all over the world, touching foot in over 20 countries. Partnered with South Africans, 22 Racers went on an 11-month experiment to figure out what it would look like to live out Luke 10. Literally knocking on doors and sleeping on streets, it was a raw adventure in faith. South African Anna Marie Franken traveled with the Racers while Seth Barnes, Andrew Shearmen, Gary Black, and Tom Davis taught and debriefed before and during the Race. Adventures Peru was also founded by church planting missionaries in Lima.
Three squads launched in 2008, which totaled 111 Racers beginning in one year. Shifts of significant growth began to occur as Racers from this year continued to pioneer in southern Africa, the UK, and Eastern Europe. Alumni started returning as squad leaders.
The World Race started launching squads focused on specific causes or people groups, e.g. Spanish-speaking route or Human Trafficking route.
Parent Ministry launched, giving the parents of Racers a place to connect with each other and with Adventures in Missions.
Parents began going on Parent Vision Trips, where they visit their Racer on the field in months 6-8 of their Race and serve alongside them. Adventures Guatemala base launched in February. Long term missionaries there dove deep into ministry and led short term teams in community outreach.
Adventures Philippines, along with long term partnership Wipe Every Tear, launched this fall and became a base for short term trips, alumni trips, Kingdom Journey trips, and Parent Vision Trips. The Center for Global Action (CGA) opened, an alumni program for discipleship, community, and activation. The Fellowship program began, a professional development program for World Race Alumni.
Kingdom Journeys sent out its first 6 month team. Gap Year launched, sending young adults ages 18-21 to three countries in 9 months. Adventures also celebrated 25 years in October.
Adventures Guatemala launched its first short term international team, sending a group of Americans and Guatemalans to Honduras. Seth’s dream of disciples making disciples is becoming a reality as our bases grow and expand. Adventures Mexico Base opened a trade school for 10 students from a local orphanage to learn welding and professional development.
The World Race celebrated 10 years by launching six squads in January, including the first World Race: Expedition. Adventures Cambodia and Adventures South Asia also opened at the beginning of the year. Long term missionaries moved to both locations and are focusing on the best way to impact their local communities in significant, relevant, and lasting ways.
Adventures in Missions Dignity Guidelines
At Adventures in Missions, we exist to mobilize a generation of radical Christ followers, discipling and training them to establish the Kingdom of God. We use the vehicle of short-term missions and other discipleship programs to accomplish this.
By sharing the stories of what Jesus is doing, we can further triumph over the enemy and bring freedom to others. Below is an overview of our guidelines to help you tell stories in a way that brings dignity and honor to the communities and people that you will serve all over the world.
We are confident our participants want to bring honor and respect as they share the Gospel around the world. These guidelines will assist in telling those stories with honor and dignity to all involved, and we expect participants to uphold these standards. We’re here to help: if any questions arise, the leadership teams will be available to help discern if the stories shared are honoring.
If you’re a participant, you’ve recently said ‘yes’ to God’s invitation to bring the Gospel to the nations - maybe even to some of the most remote places on the earth. You’re about to witness some of God’s most beautiful creations. You’ll meet a diverse array of people, and you’ll learn and grow in ways you’ve never experienced before. You’ll have a unique opportunity to become advocates for people, places, and ministries. Sometimes, knowing what is culturally appropriate in each country can feel confusing. The following guidelines will help you create a safe and honoring environment wherever you are serving - whether the camera is out or not!
Be attentive to the perception and appearance of the relationships you establish with the children and adults you serve. For everyone’s protection, it is important to avoid even the appearance of inappropriate conduct.
Be aware of the various cultural sensitivities of the country you’re visiting and avoid behavior which could potentially be interpreted as flirtatious, unwelcome, or sexual in any manner. (For example, in some countries, it is considered flirtatious to point a certain way, to hug, or to show your ankles in person.)
Respect the parents’/guardians’ relationship with their children and do not interfere with parenting matters without expressed consent from your ministry host.
Adhere to your mission trip dress code. Dress codes are set based on cultural relevance, not to limit you, but to honor the ministries we serve and for the safety of all we serve.
Do not give cash directly to any children, families, ministries, or church members. If you feel led to give financially, consult your ministry host for the proper way to do so. Our goal is to avoid creating patterns of dependency and ensure we are truly aiding sustainable ministry opportunities in the future.
Do not hire men, women, or children for any purpose without the expressed consent of your local host.
You must not exchange personal information with children. This age range includes from birth to 18 years and includes email, social media, addresses, phone numbers, etc.
You are witnessing and partaking in an incredible story of God’s love and work here on earth - and it’s not for you to keep.
The truth is, many potential abuses can occur from media getting in the wrong hands. Seemingly innocent photos and videos of children and adults have put people in harm of sexual exploitation, abuse, and trauma of various kinds. Even with good intentions, you can accidentally dishonor and disrespect someone by posting a photo before understanding the cultural and societal norms.
Please hear our heart: we don’t share this information to scare you from taking pictures, but rather to provide some context and implications of understanding cultural norms. However, for the safety of those we meet, it is important to consider whether the story or image you are sharing is safe, dignifying, and honoring to that person.
Even if you have permission and follow all official guidelines, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the impact of your social media images are respectful to all people.
When you arrive at a new ministry location, do not capture any form of media before your cultural briefing.
Please develop relationships with and know the names of the people you are photographing.
Ensure your goal is God’s glory, not building a name for yourself.
Do not post the personal information of any child or adult you meet. This includes, but is not limited to, their last name, identification numbers, specific medical conditions, size measurements, home address, school name, community or village landmarks, or place of employment.
Refrain from posting pictures of children without the parent or guardian’s consent.
If you do not have consent from someone to take their picture, do not post it. If you do not have consent from a parent or guardian, do not post photos of children. If you are unsure if you should post a photo, ask a ministry leader first. It’s always better to create a personal photo album to remember your mission experience offline and not post images publicly if safety is a concern.
Please do not take pictures of people’s homes/huts/etc to show the severity of poverty. We want to honor the boundary and not exploit poverty.
Show respect and compassion for culture and the people you are serving. Portray people with dignity and respect. Ask, does this photo show this person/place in a positive light?
Show people their picture! (Try to give them a copy - polaroids are great!)
Give context - we want to avoid telling stories that we don’t have context around.
When sharing stories on your blog or social media, change people’s names and blur out faces if you don’t have that person’s permission to share their story or photo. If ministering in an orphanage, the red-light district, or with any known survivor of abuse/trauma, you must ALWAYS use a fake name and blur faces when sharing testimonies online even with consent and permission to share. Please do not share orphanage names, and ask permission before sharing any other host ministry names online.
Please note: Adventures in Missions reserves the right to ask you to remove any public posting that might bring harm to the people, ministries, and communities visited during your mission trip.