How Many Students Does it Take

I’m often asked how many students participate in Serve each summer. Here’s the short but powerful answer:

First, recognize that students and adults participate in Serve and the three major points of impact include:

  • The Host Church- The Host Church prays about how to creatively share the Gospel with their community and mobilize their congregation into the community. This isn’t just a one-week outreach or even three months of planning. Community outreach and home missions is written into the DNA of the Host Church, so the student workforce during this one week helps to enhance and advance what the congregation does throughout the year.
  • The Community – Persons in every community across North America are praying that God would meet their needs. Some of those needs are tangible, work-related projects that have a significant bearing on that person’s financial, social and emotional well being. Those people and organizations see the Church in action. They see teenagers as doers of the Word and not hearers only. Plus, the people receiving the work share their life story and perspective so their strengths are seen and not just their needs.
  • The Students and Youth Leaders – The Students and Youth Leaders who register have been praying about how to expand their worldview and fulfill the Great Commission. They are invited to serve the Host Church and community for one week then urged to go back and engage more fully with their own congregation to reach people down the street and around the world.

For more on Serve Outcomes in these areas of impact, click here to download a one-page summary.

Now here’s the break down of participants. These are approximates and on the conservative side (I never like to be “evangelistic” in my numbers):

  • 1,700 students and youth leaders
  • 400 Host Church volunteers
  • 1,700 Host Church Prayer Partners
  • 2,400 Sending Church Prayer and Financial Partners
  • 5,600 people receiving help and sharing their life perspective with students

10,000 plus participate in Serve each summer directly connected to a church.

That last part, “directly connected to a church”, is vital to Youth Unlimited. Serve is not a student mission trip where student groups “show up, blow up and blow out”. Everyone participating is or can be relationally connected to a long-term ministry. With Youth Unlimited, it’s all about faith for life.

If you’ve been on Youth Unlimited’s Serve and have a story of impact you’d like to share, please email Mandi at