In 1980 Louie Inks, the founder of Reign Ministries, was the youth pastor at Wooddale church in Minneapolis. He had been in youth ministry for 25 years, and he wanted his youth group to experience an overseas mission trip for the summer. However at the time there were no youth mission organizations that emphasized discipleship and evangelism as Louie envisioned it. So he organized and led the trip himself.
Louie found that his eight-week overseas mission experience had a profound impact in students’ lives. It could not be paralleled in the traditional format of four years of church and youth group. The reasons were simple: continuous intensive focus in an environment where everything about the student’s life had changed—food, friends, bed, and activity.
The challenge was that church was a community designed to provide an essential but fundamentally different environment and method of influence in students’ lives. It is not practical for Christians to live like they are on a trip or like they can live for 8 weeks.
Louie also had a conviction that teens can effectively share their faith with people that have a harder time receiving from adults. And they have an important role in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
These realities led Louie to form Reign Ministries in 1981. Out of a basement office in Louie’s home Reign Ministries sent the first official Royal Servants mission trip overseas in 1982. The team was comprised of 44 students and staff. Amazingly over half of the members of that first team later became involved in full-time vocational ministry.
Today, we reflect back on our 30+ years of ministry and rejoice in the 200+ mission trips that we’ve been a part of to more than 60 nations on six continents. It’s remarkable to think that we’ve been a part of that, and more than where we’ve gone, has been the over 8,000 students that we’ve been able to disciple as a part of that process.