Go Do Good – Do It

by Angie Klooster

SERVE 2019 was one of the most influential weeks of my life. Seeing the broken state some people live in is one thing but having the opportunity to help them and change their way of life is entirely different. We made a difference, even if all we did was weed a few rows of a community garden or paint the walls of a non-profit organization. And making a difference made a difference in me.

I was cautious to go on this trip. It was very out of my comfort zone. Then, when I found out no one from my church was in my SERVE small group, I was even more discouraged. However, as soon as I met my small group and spent one day with them, I knew I was here for a reason. The people I worked with and got to know were some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, and I quickly realized God sent me on SERVE to do good.

God sent me to a small church in Muskegon, Michigan both to help people and to grow, myself. I learned more about myself in those seven days than I have in my entire life. I learned to not take things for granted. I learned that God works miracles in the strangest of ways. I learned to get out of my comfort zone and talk to people. And I learned to make friends, even if it’s just for a week and I might never see them again.

With each service project – every time we handed out yogurt at the church or cleaned a lot – we made a difference, and I was so encouraged. It might not have been much, but it was something, and it was hopefully enough to encourage others to follow our footsteps, too.

One little nudge can make a change in someone’s life, like the way my life changed at Muskegon SERVE. If the people of Muskegon saw us planting a garden and growing food, it shows them that it’s possible. If the kids at Muskegon Heights High School saw that people were willing to help them, it shows them they can help people, too.

Muskegon SERVE was just one week, but the people I worked with have been doing this for years. They have dedicated their lives to helping their community and are very passionate about what they do. They work so hard with so little. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to see, and talk to, and help these people. It’s changed who I am, and I hope everyone gets a chance to have a similar experience. If you ever get the opportunity to go do good, do it. It will be beyond worth it.  

[This is an excerpt from the Fall 2019 Magazine. To read more stories CLICK HERE]

The Sacrifice of Service

by Andrew Rennie, Lynden SERVE Host Team Member

My second year on the Host Team of Lynden SERVE felt different from the first. The first year left me wishing I could have done more or been more involved. I was inspired by the work of the students, by witnessing their comradery and unity, and by watching our church come together and work purposefully to the glory of God. Still, it seemed to me that my part in this sacrifice of service was missing something.

Reflecting on the old sacrificial system, I realize pleasing sacrifices are rarely spontaneous. The spotless lamb doesn’t walk up to the alter on its own. The firewood must first be collected and seasoned before it’s burned, and the poetry of praise doesn’t just float in on the wind. Each sacrifice is created through availability and intentionality.

For me, the biggest stumbling blocks to serving were having the time to do it (the idolatry of availability) and only wanting to serve in ways I was comfortable with (the idolatry of success).

I know, deep down, that I must say “Here I am, Lord,” and then be willing to listen to his calling.

This year I decided to plan ahead and take the week of SERVE off work. By giving this sacrifice, it kept me available, freeing my mind from work worries and letting me focus on SERVE. I could cheerfully give my time flexibly, offering help wherever it was needed. Being willing to listen to his calling beautified the sacrifice.

As a Christian, I no longer rely on the old sacrificial system our Heavenly Father instituted for his people to enable and restore their relationship with himself. I know Christ accomplished it all on the cross. There is literally nothing I can add to his highest and most holy sacrifice, and yet, I am still called and compelled to live my life as a fragrant offering before his throne.

I want to bring a sacrifice of praise and I want to bring a sacrifice of service. I desire to love God more wholly and abide in him more deeply. Approaching SERVE as a love offering to the Lord this year made all of the difference.

“Here I am, Lord.”

[This is an excerpt from the Fall 2018 Magazine. To read more stories CLICK HERE]

What Kind Of “SERVE”-Ant are you?

When you go on a SERVE trip, it’s pretty obvious that you have to work as a team in order to get anything done. One example in nature of God’s design for teamwork is that of ants. Ants have to work as a team to get anything done, and when the team works together, well, they all get to succeed! But in a team, not everyone can take on the same role, even ants have different jobs. What kind of “SERVE”-Ant are you?

Fire Ant- Fire Ants are passionate about their service. They are often so excited and determined that their passion can rub off on their team members. Fire ants are hard to miss and hard to ignore. If you are a fire ant, remember to use your passion to gently encourage those around you. We love your excitement and energy; every site needs a few Fire Ants.

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Carpenter Ant- Carpenter Ants are the really hard workers of the group. They may stay in the background but they know how to get work done. They love to work with their hands and aren’t afraid to get a little dirty. If you are a Carpenter Ant, keep up the good work and try to use your skills to help others work with excellence as well. We love your determination; those service projects would not get done as well without you.

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.

Queen Ant- Every ant nest has a queen. These ants are the leaders of the group. They keep everyone together and make sure everyone is ok. The Queen Ant may have a lot of power over the group but they also have the most responsibility. If you are a Queen Ant, strive to lead your group by example with humility and hard work. We love your leadership and caring attitude; the week would be a mess without you.

Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

God has created us all with unique skills and abilities. How will you use your uniqueness this summer to help your team at SERVE?

Life Changing Serve

Three high school students from Ferry Memorial Reformed Church in Montague, MI attended Huron Serve in July of 2015.

Sure, they enjoyed getting to know some new Canadian friends and trying poutine for the first time, but they also allowed Serve to change their life in larger ways. Many of the work projects at Huron Serve were in small rural communities. As one student, Seth, experienced working with people in rural poverty, he said, “Serve opened my eyes to see lots of people in need in areas you wouldn’t think there would be a need – in a small town”. A freshman, Cecilia, adds, “I didn’t realize so many people were in need”.

Huron Serve encouraged students and leaders to look at the world through someone else’s eyes and to build relationships with those they came to work alongside. The youth leader, Mike, appreciated this aspect of Serve. “I thought I was helping others before (in other service projects), but it was more about making me feel good about myself, not thinking about how they feel”. Seth agreed that treating someone with dignity and getting to know them is important, and he says, “It is more than giving someone on the street a bottled water, it is sitting down and drinking water with a person.”

A senior (now a college Freshman), Lauren’s, experience with Serve was one reason she changed her major from English to Social Work. She has always had a big heart for people on the margins, but her experiences at Serve working with homeless and people living on the edge of poverty helped her realize what she really wanted to do.

As a leader, I am enthusiastic about my Serve experience. I took three quiet, introverted students with prayerful confidence that they would be enfolded by their small group teams and find a place to belong and to serve. I appreciate that the the Serve experiences I have been on emphasized a relationship with God at the core of all we do – including serving others. We are encouraged to treat all people with dignity and respect. The feeling wasn’t that the volunteers come with answers or even with “help”, but that we work together; in fact, getting to know someone and hearing their story may be the “help” that we both need most.

My 51 – Menno, South Dakota Community

Three years ago I came to the small town of Menno, South Dakota to serve as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church (NALC/LCMC). It was the first time I had ever heard of this “thing” called Serve. Our town has a population of 608 and five (yes, count them: FIVE) churches. Our churches are Immanuel Lutheran Church (LCMS), Peace Christian Reformed Church, Salem Reformed Church (CCCC), Zion Reformed Church (RCUS) and Grace Lutheran Church, where I currently serve.

For a number of years now, youth from all five of these churches have attended Serve in various locations, from Platte, South Dakota to Newark, New Jersey to Houston, Texas and everywhere in between. I had the privilege of attending as a leader in 2013. Our group went to Houston, Texas, and one of the messages I heard there was that the youth were to take what they had learned from their experience with Serve and to put into action locally. In other words, Serve is not just one week in a place away from home. Serve is also about the other 51 weeks throughout the year.

Some of our other adult leaders who have been active with Serve took that call seriously, and with many brilliant minds TUG was born. TUG stands for Teens United in God. This August will be our third year of TUG. We begin on Friday evening and throughout all day Saturday. The kids do not get to sleep in on Saturday morning. They come early. We eat together. And then we go into our community of 608 people and we work. Last year we helped with cleaning up a rural cemetery and repainting the picnic shelter located there. Another group repainted the dugout shelters at our local softball field. Another group repainted a very large building located on our main street in town. And another group did clean-up and painting at our local park. The kids of Menno, South Dakota and surrounding towns were so diligent in their work, they finished early, so another group repainted a garage (albeit small) in an hour and a half!!

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When the kids are finished with a long day of working, it does not stop there. We get together and we worship and sing. We are reminded of why we are doing what we are doing in the first place. God has called us to live out our lives pleasing to him, and because of the gracious gift he has given to us in Jesus Christ, serving our community is the least we can do.

In addition to the kids volunteering, we need many adults to help out. We had entire families helping us that day. This year, we have had people asking what projects the kids are doing for TUG. We now have other groups in town giving donations for TUG.

The local people are looking forward to seeing all the kids and adults out working in the community.

As a pastor of a small town, I cannot even begin to say how proud I am of this community. It is a community filled with faith in Jesus Christ. Yes, we do have residents who do not attend church, who do not believe that God is almighty and loves them so much he would give the greatest sacrifice of all. And it is because of that, that my hope and my prayer is that these kids and their families can be witnesses to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

My 51 – Alamosa CRC

In our town of Alamosa, Colorado, we are set in the San Luis Valley, surrounded by purple, majestic mountains and green fields where the farmers raise alfalfa, barley, oats and potatoes. Along with the landscape, there is a community where people look out, take care of and serve each other.

Our church, Alamosa Christian Reformed Church, also noticed that there was a huge population of residents that needed an extra hand. The San Luis Valley is the home of two of the poorest counties in the nation, so with willing hands and hearts, Christian Community Service Projects (CCSP) was formed.

The mission for CCSP is to address the physical and spiritual needs of people in the San Luis Valley Community in the name of Christ by helping them to rebuild and improve their lives. We do this by hosting groups that go into our community to do home improvements for residents who do not have the resources to help themselves. As manager, I’m able to see every aspect of the operations and guide the process relationally. My favorite part is calling the residents to let them know a group is being coming to meet their need. My second favorite part is seeing the look of satisfaction on the volunteers’ faces when they make a difference through their selfless hearts and attitudes. Galatians 5:13b comes to mind – “serve one another in love”!

My husband, Keith, is also making a difference in the lives of others in Haiti, Honduras and Peru. His talents in woodworking and innovation with limited resources are a real gift to those looking to use what little they have efficiently and effectively. While Keith goes to teach skills he has also learned so many life and spiritual lessons. The best part of serving in other parts of the world is realizing that even thousands of miles away from home we all serve the one, true and Almighty God.

Our church enjoys hosting Serve with Youth Unlimited every other year and we wish it could happen every week, all year around. That’s why we’ve tried to integrate service principles into the life of our church and families.

Whenever we talk about what inspires us to serve and to host Serve for our community, we have to mention Keith’s sister, Christine Tolsma, Christine was tragically killed in 2008 when she was just 17 years old. This terrible loss was only eclipsed by the blessed assurance of seeing her again one day in Heaven. Her faith was strengthened by attending Youth Unlimited’s Serve which definitely created milestones in her walk with the Lord. At those experiences she made lasting relationships with other students, friends from her own community and with Jesus Christ. She also made lasting commitments that caused her to serve the Lord the other 51 weeks of the year, so we are inspired through the legacy she left to serve the other 51 as well.

 

 

 

 

Feed the Need with a Can in Hand

I want to believe that there is a something rooted deep within our being that can drive upward and outward the passions and actions to willingly help those around us. For some of us, it comes seemingly easy, and for others, it takes a personal experience to loosen those chains holding us back. This stirring began about a year ago as a series of events were already taking place.

First, our high school youth group was in the midst of a study of the book of Acts, with a focus on how the first church responded to each other and those around them. Two different sections of verses from the book of Acts were of real importance: Acts 2:45 “…they (the believers) gave to anyone as he had need”, and Acts 4:32-34, “All the believers were one in heart and mind… They shared everything they had… There were no needy persons among them.” This challenged our youth group to begin to think of ways to help assist those around us.

Second, we were preparing for our 2014 summer mission trips with Youth Unlimited and we were challenged to look at Isaiah 58 on “True Fasting” and read a book entitled Fast Living by Dr. Scott C. Todd. The chapter from Scripture and this book would be of great assistance to preparing us for our Serve mission trip to Washington DC in July, and for how we can view and assist those around us with real needs.

Third, due to some extenuating circumstances, our middle school youth group needed to change locations for their local summer service weekend. Connections were discussed about how Bravo CRC, located just south of Fennville, MI would be willing to host the group so that we could assist the Sonshine Thrift Store and Food Pantry. The group went out and spent a weekend in June helping out around the thrift store, the church and in other small ways to impact those located in the Bravo community. These events all came together to pave the way for developing the Can In Hand Ministry.

After spending last summer and fall getting to know some of the members of Bravo CRC and individuals in the Bravo Community, it became very apparent that clothes, household items, and food were all needed and could be of greater assistance. So what could the youth groups, my church and I do to assist with this need?

While this question and others were being discussed, two things were also happening. First, following our summer Serve trip with Youth Unlimited, we were challenged to start something 45-90 days later that could help serve others around us. Second, my church was kicking of a 9 month series around the book The Story (published by Zondervan) and is a look at “the Bible as one continuing story of God and His people.” Throughout God’s story, he is continually showing his love and grace for his people by providing for their needs – from their daily needs to their spiritual needs – and is challenging the people to do the same for others.

One such story (from Genesis 41) was how Joseph took the vision from God to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams to store up food during the seven good years of harvest to provide for the people of his nation and other nations during the seven lean years. This story of Joseph was part of the process to reveal to us a way to both love God and love others and Can In Hand Ministry then developed out of this revelation.

Leading up to this new ministry, our church, like many others, would do a few food drives throughout the year to help support our local food distribution agencies as well as ministries that served those with needs. We realized that Graafschap was a church with a congregation that could be described as living in the “seven good years” and our food drives were serving those living in the “seven lean years”.

The challenge was then created to try to build up a storehouse of food, so that when local food distribution agencies could benefit from food assistance, we could just open the doors. How exactly do we get to the point of building up the storehouses? Can in Hand became this answer and is a challenge for our congregation to come to church with your Bible in one hand (Love God) and a can of food in the other (Love Others).

Our goal was set high but our expectations were set low. If, as a goal, 300 people from our church – young and old alike – would each bring a can a week, this could total up to 1200 cans a month! Just think of the people that could be impacted! With this goal being set, our expectation was for 20-30% of the congregation to participate, because we realized that we are challenging the way for our congregation to think differently about giving/generosity and how they prepare for Sunday mornings.

Since the kick-off of this ministry last October, we have met our expectations and have averaged 80-100 non-perishable food items. Still, we realize it is still early in the ministry life of Can in Hand and, that being said, the majority of the food is being sent down to the Sonshine Thrift Store Food Pantry because of our direct connections from last summer. Some would call this a success (which I do, because even 40 cans of food is still better than zero cans of food), but I believe that God is still challenging us to do more for him and for those around us.

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While we have ebbed and flowed with the giving and participation from week to week, our congregation is hopefully grasping the concept that Loving God and Loving Others is about abiding in Christ and inviting others to join us too. Sometimes this starts by changing the way it means to live generously, which could include ”feeding the need with a can in hand”.

Click here if you would like to start a Can in Hand ministry at your church/organization to download an editable information sheet for your congregation.

A Look at Middle School Serve

The relationships and friendships of Serve that last long beyond the summer are just one of the awesome reasons why we, here at Friendship CRC, host middle school Serve year after year.

 

As a Host Team, we seek to provide a time of worship that is authentic and transparent, a worship experience that facilitates the work of the Holy Spirit in the transformation of young people’s lives. We laugh and we cry as we share our struggles with one another; we talk through the hard stuff and reveal some of the deepest parts of our hearts. As we empty the hearts of these young people, we fill them with God’s unconditional love, a peace that can only come from our Savior, and a hope grounded in the promises God has made to each of us.

 

I am amazed every year how God transforms and works in the lives of these young people through the work projects, the people we serve, the times of worship, and the fun we have together as a family. Each year Friendship CRC is blessed through Serve with a small glimpse of what the new Kingdom will look like; a family in Christ living, working, playing, and worshiping for the one true God.

 

We could use another twenty students and youth leaders at our Serve in 2014. And, I would also highly recommend any church thinking about becoming a middle school Host Team, step out in faith and be a part of an amazing opportunity. Be blessed and become a blessing by serving the awesome young people of God’s incredible Kingdom.

 

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ~Mark 10:45

Divine Normal: Kingdom Living by Mere Mortals

We recognize that it can be hard for high school students to feel as though they are truly living for Christ and for the Kingdom. On youth mission trips students often hear the invitation to go into all the world with the gospel. Youth leaders and speakers clearly present Christ’s words to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow him. But that can make it sound like missional living requires world travel and gospel preaching on a diet of bugs. That might be either scary or exciting, but it’s not an accurate picture of Kingdom impact for everyone.

 

Students can get even more confused after returning home, because changing the world often gets put on hold altogether. Thoughts of world restoration can be drowned out by the need to get good grades, a good job, enough money and a successful life. But is it really one or the other? Can a student in the midst of homework, sports, tests and friends really help change the world with the gospel? Or for some of us, are our lives just too normal to have divine Kingdom impact? We may wonder if we’re missing a higher calling or if there’s a way that everyday life can become more radically Christian.

 

Inspired by God’s exhortations to his people in Isaiah 58, the theme for 2014 will address issues of justice that “ordinary” people can do something about right away. “Normal” will be redefined in light of heavenly, and not earthly, standards, so that students will see just how radical everyday Christian life and love can be.

 

The fundamental truth is that God exists, and he is engaged in creation and culture. Students will be encouraged to celebrate their gospel call to be co-workers with Christ by bringing about restoration in the world. They will be challenged to add practical justice initiatives to their existing routine of spiritual disciplines. By the end of the week, students and leaders will be encouraged to engage their congregations back home with a Kingdom-impacting project that will take place in the fall or winter in order to keep the momentum from their summer trip moving towards a lifestyle of missions.

 

This year, Serve student mission trips is excited to partner with Live58 and World Renew to bring real stories of community impact and resources for continued service after the Serve week. If you want to get a head start on this theme, read the book Fast Living by Dr. Scott Todd. All Serve Speakers and Worship Leaders will be encouraged to read this before Serve, and both the Host and Sending Churches will be encouraged to watch the movie, LIVE 58.

Bridging the Gap

Every summer a group of students and leaders from our church embarks on a service opportunity through Youth Unlimited. We have chosen our location carefully, prayed and prepared ourselves for the week ahead. As we gather in the church parking lot—bags full, a bit anxious, unsure of what to expect—we wonder what lies ahead. The series of emotions, experiences, stories, and worship that unfolds throughout the week is invaluable and impactful. There is something about intentionally setting aside our busy lifestyles—cell phones, internet, our usual routines—that allows us to become more fully open to the movement and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

 

And then before we know it the week is over. Oftentimes coming home can be a bit disillusioning. We have just had a wonderful faith-forming, relationship-building experience and are left wondering, “Now what?” How do we bring what we have seen and learned back home with us? How do we allow God to continue the work he has started in us?

 

Our students live in a generally safe and quiet community—most have not encountered hunger, homelessness, addiction, poverty, or broken homes; they live relatively secure lives. One of the reasons a service opportunity is so challenging for our students’ faith is because they must face these issues head-on. Their eyes are opened and their beliefs challenged.

 

This is why it is often hard to bridge the gap between our service site and our small quiet town. This year—after wrestling with these hard questions for the past few—our youth group is seeking to seize this valuable experience by engaging in service opportunities in our own backyard. We called some local ministries to set up opportunities where we could continue hands on, faith-forming experiences.

 

Our primary requirement for our locations was that our ministry sites be relationally based instead of task oriented. Our small groups are meeting once a month at these ministry locations hoping to build relationships, share the Good News and encounter God. We are partnering with families and individuals of different ethnicities, abilities and a variety of backgrounds, including past imprisonment, addiction and the effects of age. (Our hope is that these sites will allow our students to implement the lessons they have learned on previous service trips to enhance our own community. This will also help students who will embark on service trips in the future.) Through this experience we are seeing generosity, hospitality, openness, deep faith and wisdom. Our hope is that of Philippians 2—that we would be one in spirit with God, considering others and their interests above our own.

The Unexpected Prairie

When asked to think about cultural diversity, most people understandably think about urban communities with people from all sorts of different backgrounds. But increasingly, this same diversity can be found in the rural communities out on the northern plains as well. Many of our neighbors come from Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, and they bring with them a wealth of diversity, cultural strengths and Kingdom cooperation.

The native people settled here because they loved, even worshipped, the sun. They took advantage of the natural resources the land provided. Today, the descendants of these people are still here wrestling with the challenges brought on by the near destruction of their way of life. European settlers came here in the 1800’s and established communities grounded in farming and faith. Today, people still come from around the globe in search of opportunity.

While there is much about rural life that is good, as with every other place in the world there are significant issues and problems to overcome. There are kids who go hungry, and there are men and women without good jobs. These people, our neighbors and family members, struggle with disabilities, extended sickness, addictions and all the financial, emotional, and relational needs that go along with that.

While urban and global poverty get much of the attention, rural poverty represents a unique challenge. It is pervasive and destructive to families and communities, and yet many of the resources and networks needed to address the significant issues associated with rural poverty (physical and emotional abuse, substance abuse, etc.) are under-developed, under-funded, or non-existent.

What’s unique about the rural setting is that there’s often a stoic pride and stubbornness that masks how significant these needs can be. Some small communities don’t have all the resources they need, while many of the people who could benefit from the resources either aren’t sure how to ask or aren’t willing to.

The Prairie Project is a four-day Serve project at Dordt College in which students will immerse themselves in the issues facing rural America.

When you come you’ll meet some of our hardworking, wise neighbors. You’ll experience the issues and struggles that are unique to this people and this region. You will also find that many of these problems affect us all regardless of where we live. We invite you to come, not just to give, but to receive. We invite you to open yourself up in generosity and love to the people and the land and see what happens. Hear God speak to you in the wind and the blue sky, and let Jesus meet you in the people you encounter.

You’ll experience both diversity and poverty here along with the rolling hills, big skies, river valleys and vistas that allow you to see for miles—all part of the beauty of the plains. You’ll also experience a Divine Normal that followers of Jesus Christ are ushering in by his grace.

What Youth Leaders Really Want in a Mission Experience

With the goal of continual improvement in mind, Youth Unlimited asked ten Sending Church youth leaders to explain what they hope for in a North American mission experience. Here’s a glimpse at their answers.

  1. TRUST: Taking a group on a trip means that you must trust the leaders who will guide you through the experience once you arrive. It’s nearly impossible to have a great trip without a good host organization or church to guide you. That’s why Youth Unlimited is dedicated to building strong Host Church teams. A new Host Church learns the best practices of short-term missions and hosting. They consider how the Serve week integrates with their ongoing home missions and community outreach efforts. Resources and ideas are shared across an extensive network of Host Churches across Canada and the U.S.
  2. SIMPLICITY: Missions is never “easy.” The very nature of missions demands that we grapple with spiritual battles and issues of injustice. However, by providing administrative help and an excellent Digital Resource Box, Youth Unlimited seeks to make the mobilization of students for the cause of Christ as simple as possible for church leaders. Clear communication is also important here. This is the difference between a smooth and simple experience or one in which groups feel confused and lost. Youth Unlimited encourages Host Churches to communicate clearly and often.
  3. THE GOSPEL: Youth Leaders want their groups to experience a Gospel-filled week. The Speaker, the Worship Leader and the Adult Leaders at Serve are urged to make the Gospel the center of everything that happens. Students will be reminded of the good news and that the death and resurrection of Christ is our motivation for serving in the community.
  4. A CHALLENGE: At the end of the week, participants ought to be saying, “I worked hard, played hard and thought more deeply about my walk with Christ. I was stretched out of my comfort zone.” That’s the ideal. Now, a brief reality check: There are always a few students and even adults who do not want to be challenged. Sending Churches want Host Church/Ministries to use grace and love when confronting behavior problems. Also, not all worksites will lead to amazing and fulfilling experiences. The Host Churches strive to connect the work to the need and the need to a person and their story. Even when that person or story is not obvious, however, students are still urged to serve with perseverance and a good attitude.
  5. LEADERSHIP ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND ASSISTANCE:Some youth leaders are veterans and come with years of experience. Others are recruited at the last minute and need almost constant guidance. Host Churches/Ministries can assess adult leaders’ abilities and help them out as needed.
  6. INCLUSIVE TRIPS: Youth leaders and students work hard to raise the money for a mission trip, so hidden costs are not cool. Sure, an extra $5 for the day away is reasonable. But an extra $15 is not going to happen. Sending Churches shouldn’t have to pull out their wallet for anything except to purchase fuel for their vehicle.
  7. A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF PROTOCOLS AND INSURANCE IN CASE OF AN INJURY: If there’s an incident, adults want answers and not confusion. Youth Unlimited has procedures in place to make sure students are cared for and God is glorified in the process. Youth Unlimited also has excellent secondary insurance with Mutual of Omaha, but there is paperwork to file and the parent/legal guardian must be proactive after the student returns home.
  8. LONG-TERM IMPACT: Youth leaders want to know that their group’s work mattered. They also want to help their own students integrate what they learned into their daily lives. In the Student and Leader versions of the Spiritual Life Guide and in the Digital Resource Box, Youth Unlimited supplies a Post-Trip Plan to help with follow-up.

 

If you’re one of the more than 200 Sending Churches working with Youth Unlimited this summer, please add your thoughts to this list by sending your comments to missions@youthunlimited.org.