Make Change. Be Changed.

Not only is the theme itself vital to Serve, but we believe the design that presents the theme is also important. Below is information from the designer; we hope it helps give even more insight into Serve 2016!

Make change. – The painted style plays off of the idea that this is not an easy or “neat & clean” time for vacation, but a week of making a difference through hard work and getting messy while serving others for Jesus.

Be changed. – We’re all unfinished works-in-progress with fewer 90-degree angles or polished edges than we’d sometimes like to admit, and seldom do we return home from a youth mission trip the same person we were before leaving. The process of life change is often not simple, and can leave us feeling very unsettled, with a jumble of emotions running through our hearts & minds. Trusting in Jesus, however, we can be certain that what appears like a mess at first can – and will – ultimately be used for his glory and our transformation to become more like him.

The drawn/painted feel lends itself to the fact that this is an experience that can only truly be encountered first-hand. Looking at an Instagram post will never replicate being there in person for those spontaneous moments that inevitably become some of the most memorable ones, too. A unique aspect of summer mission trips, like Serve, is that the “Make change. Be changed.” process is often at work simultaneously. Hence the more circular shape to the text. The act of making a difference outwardly produces an inward shift as students place others’ needs before their own. Students focused solely on the service aspect come away having encountered Christ in much deeper ways than they ever expected, and those going particularly for the spiritual experience find themselves contributing in very tangible ways through skills and talents they may have never known they possessed.

Not only does the water symbolize the ebbs and flows of life and the constant change that we encounter, but the photo itself is of the actual Sea of Galilee, where we read accounts in the book of Mark of Jesus traveling frequently, but more specifically issuing the calls to Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew to “Make change.” and “Be changed.” through following him. The varied colors, layers and textures are there to signify the varied backgrounds and stories we are all living out as we are either marked by or making our mark through this journey.

That’s Gonna Leave a Mark

The following is an excerpt from our Winter, 2016 Magazine. To view the whole magazine, click here

An Introduction to the 2016 Serve Theme Adapted from the 2016 Spiritual Life Guide

I can remember my friends saying that over and over in my life. Sometimes it was with wide eyes, searching to see how I was going to cope with tremendous pain; like the time I was 9 and tried to jump my bike over some barrels – epic wipeout. Or the time I was running hurdles in high school, miss stepped and face planted into the track. Other times they could hardly get the words out, because they were laughing hysterically; like the time I embarrassed myself in front of the new girl.

Once I overheard my dad whisper that phrase to my mom after I was recognized for an achievement. He knew that it’s not just the negative things that leave a mark. Affirmation, positive circumstances and good relationships also connect deeply within us and leave a mark of confidence and strength.

Just walking through everyday life we encounter people and circumstances that leave a mark on us. Some are hurt like a bruise. Some are good and show up in a smile. Some are as obvious as a new tattoo and some are hidden deep and unshared.

Through the book of Mark we see Jesus Christ walking through everyday life with people. He helps them identify hurtful marks this world has left on them through circumstances, misplaced values, wrong philosophies, bad decisions, negative relationships, etc. Through love and grace he gives understanding, forgiveness and wisdom. If they follow him, those marks are healed and even, as mind boggling as this is, can be redeemed for strength and used to build wisdom and confidence in others.

Jesus also identifies strengths and abilities, uniqueness and character traits that reflect God’s image. From a little boy with a lunch to the old neglected woman, he is quick to identify positive traits (marks) and whisper that God the Father approves.

Through a study on the book of Mark, we hope that students will allow Jesus to walk with them through their lives, redeeming the difficult times and leading them into making a positive mark on others, their community and this world.

A key prayer we pray is that they will have friends who walk with Christ and with them, through difficult times, wide eyed, helping them work through the pain. And friends who also see their incredible God-given potential and can whisper that their Heavenly Father approves.

The purpose of the 2016 curriculum is to enable students to encounter the person of Jesus Christ in very real ways during their time at Serve. Held in tandem with their ministry of service, relationships with peers and mentoring from small group leaders, this curriculum will allow students of all places in the walk of faith to meet more fully a Savior who humbly came to serve so that his love would be poured out for us.  

Reserve Your Spot!

Sunday was the first day to reserve your spots at one of the 28 Serve Sites across Canada and the United States. Space is reserved on a first come, first served basis, so be sure to check out the sites we have available!

At Serve 2016, students will join with God and a local congregation in the renewal of all things as they make a change in this world for Christ and are changed by him.

Full descriptions, FAQs, digital resources and more can be found at You can also download the 2016 theme summary, Make Change, Be Changed, at!