There are good and bad reasons to go on an OYC, and good and bad reasons to stay where you are.

What are some of the good reasons to stay put?

Stay to prepare to go. One of the best reasons to not go for now is to get the training you need to be helpful somewhere the need is greater. But be careful this doesn’t turn into a perpetual reason for not going. If someone wants you to stay and train so that you can go somewhere else, try to get a clear understanding of what that means:

  • What skills will your trainer be giving you, specifically?
  • What will indicate that you have been sufficiently trained in those areas and are ready to go?
  • Is the person training you really going to want to send you out when the training is done, or will he or she expect you to stay once you’ve been trained?

Stay because you are more needed or effective where you are. It doesn’t make sense for some people to re-locate to share the gospel. If for example, you live in a place where a large population have never heard the gospel, you could stay a lifetime and not run out of opportunities to fulfill the Great Commission.

On the other hand, though, be clear-eyed about just how needed you really are, especially if you have it good at your current location!

By the numbers, and from an ICOC perspective*, the U.S. is about 10 times more evangelized than the world outside the U.S. Many places in the Middle East, Western Europe and Asia are 50 times or more less evangelized than the U.S. So while your home church may understandably want you to stay and help where you are, consider the true difference in need and potential effectiveness you may experience by taking the OYC and giving a year of your life to helping in a place the need is 10, 20 or 100 times more than where you are.

*We’re not implying that only people in the ICOC are Christians. It’s just the metric we’re using to think about where the “need” is greatest. There are certainly other useful metrics.