A Reflection on SERVE@Home

We have been living in a time when plans have been canceled or postponed at the speed of sound. One day we were sorting out the details about going away on SERVE and excitedly coming home from the Leadership Summit, then a week later, we were hunkering down for a 6-month lock-in. We didn’t foresee this.

It was/is hard, this new world. If there was a glimmer of hope for ministry during this time, it came in the form of SERVE@home as a hands-on practical way to, within a COVID reality, still be a model of creative Kingdom hospitality and compassion. 

As a SERVE team at Covenant CRC in Edmonton, Alberta, it was important to remind our church community that in spite of the world seemingly shutting down, the needs of our surrounding communities were still real. 15 students and leaders experienced that first hand.

Each morning we gathered for devotions, listening for what Jesus was saying to each one of us through Matthew 5, the Beatitudes. Powerful messages absorbed through personal reflection to set the pace for the day.

Each reflection tied into what that day had in store for us. Between moving a young family from one home to another, preparing meals for those shut-in and who could not afford food that week, delivering these meals, hosting a COVID-safe BBQ, sorting clothes and toiletries for those in need and the list goes on. As Jesus once said after seeing the crowds of people in need, “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few”. 

At the end of each day, we listened to each other. The stories of where we saw God and His amazing work in action. 

SERVE@home was an answer to prayer for our church. A community that desperately needed community. Where grace and compassion revealed itself through God’s redemptive story that is as real today as it was when He promised to Abram, “and all nations will be blessed through you”

About the Author: Ron deVries lives in Edmonton, AB, and is the ministry ambassador to ThereforeGo as well as a Regional Catalyst for the office of Faith Formations of the CRCNA.

COVID-19 Creates Opportunity For New SERVE@Home Outreach Program

Every spring season, Youth Unlimited is preparing to mobilize thousands of teens and volunteers to participate in SERVE – weeklong mission trips across the United States and Canada. SERVE is a unique approach to mission experiences because it allows students to partner with churches in communities and spend a week each summer serving, worshiping, and sharing the love of Christ with the host church’s home community.

However, this summer is going to look quite different for SERVE. Due to the impact of COVID-19, Youth Unlimited has launched a new mission opportunity called SERVE@Home. Rather than sending students across the country to serve, SERVE@Home equips local churches and home congregations to serve in their home communities.

“This certainly isn’t what we thought SERVE 2020 would look like,” says Rick Zomer, Executive Director of Youth Unlimited. “But, that doesn’t mean we’re any less excited for our busy summer season. SERVE@Home is an incredible opportunity for congregations to minister within their own communities, and we believe it will introduce more churches to the work of Youth Unlimited and the impact of SERVE,” he adds.

Groups who participate in SERVE@Home will receive resources from Youth Unlimited to make the week more than just a community service project. “Churches who register will receive everything they typically would on a SERVE trip, including curriculum, t-shirts, and other helpful insights,” says Elizabeth Bosscher, Communications and Events Coordinator for Youth Unlimited. “In addition, we will provide each group with pre-recorded speakers’ sessions, Spotify playlists, tips to develop worksites in their communities, and more,” she adds.

COVID-19 is preventing students from traveling to SERVE sites, but it can’t change the heart and mission of Youth Unlimited. “SERVE@Home aligns perfectly with our mission at Youth Unlimited – to encourage, equip, and partner with local congregations across North America to reach this generation for Christ,” adds Zomer. “That is accomplished whether we travel 3000 miles from home or serve those in need in our own backyards.”

To learn more about SERVE@Home and how your church group can participate, visit thereforego.com/servehome.

Youth Unlimited, headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, is a non-denominational, non-profit ministry organization with the focus of assisting the Church and its many local congregations with their ministry to our youth. Through events like SERVE mission trips, Youth Unlimited partners with youth leaders to provide faith-forming experiences to middle school, high school, and special needs students. Visit www.thereforego.com for more information.