Youth Unlimited Becomes ThereforeGo Ministries

Dear Friends,

We wanted to share some exciting news with you about our ministry. As of Tuesday, September 1, 2020, Youth Unlimited has officially changed its name to ThereforeGo Ministries. This announcement is the result of months of prayer and discussion on the board and staff levels of our ministry and we are excited to share with you how we came to this decision.



Clearing Up Confusion and Expanding Our Ministry

There are two significant reasons why we felt called to change the name of our ministry. First, for a number of years, there has been a growing confusion with other ministry initiatives in Canada who were also operating under the name Youth Unlimited. We believe that the transition to ThereforeGo Ministries will provide clarity for our friends and partners in Canada who have faithfully supported us through the years. The second reason is that while we remain committed to our mission of collaborating with local churches in their youth ministries (through SERVE and other programs), in recent years the scope of this work has expanded. Churches are reporting an increasing struggle to remain connected with their students and emerging adults as they move beyond their high school years and into their late teens/early 20s. We are eager to collaborate and resource churches as they minister with this age cohort but increasingly found that having the word “youth” in our ministry’s name created the understanding that our efforts were focused exclusively on individuals under the age of 18.

Based in Scripture

One reason we love the name ThereforeGo Ministries is that it reminds us of two important scripture passages.

Matthew 28:16-20

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.


The Transitional Reality of Ministry

This name also reminds us of the transitional reality of ministry and the transitional reality of the lives of youth and emerging adults. As a ministry we have a rich 100-year history of working with churches, therefore we have the confidence and expertise to continue creating meaningful experiences and valuable resources. For youth and emerging adults attending ThereforeGo Ministries programming, they are often on the verge of life decisions and changing realities. We want to help them see the confidence they can have in the legacy of faith that generations before them have shown and how that confidence can prompt them to therefore go and follow the calling of Christ on their lives.

Will You Partner With Us in This New Season?

We ask that you continue to pray for our staff and ThereforeGo Ministries. We remain committed to our mission statement of “helping churches challenge youth and emerging adults to commit their lives to Jesus Christ and transform the world for Him.” We are also committed to continuing to offer SERVE and ask that you continue to pray for this ministry.

ThereforeGo Ministries, history of name changes

A Time For Reflection

This magazine is probably landing in your mailbox in the midst of the beginning of a new ministry year. Youth groups are meeting after summer breaks, fall programs have started back up and summer can seem like a distant memory. As a result, the section of this magazine that might appear to be the most interesting is the preview of the SERVE 2020 theme. Let me encourage you to resist the temptation to jump straight to those sections that focus on next summer and instead, begin by spending some time reading the stories and testimonies from SERVE 2019.

This past year, over 1,400 individuals participated in SERVE at 23 sites across Canada and the United States. Students spent the week considering Paul’s message in Titus 2:14 to “Go Do Good.” They were challenged to reflect on how this verse could impact their life beyond their SERVE experience as they return to their homes, churches and schools. Now, they’re back in their communities and our prayer is that they are trying to discern how a SERVE experience impacts their day-to-day lives.

Many of you know one of these students. You may have encouraged them to attend SERVE, prayed for them before they left, organized a church fundraiser or written a check to cover registration costs. Their experience might not have been possible without the support you provided before their SERVE week.

Now that students are back home, the tendency might be to let their memories of summer 2019 fade into the background. You, too, might spend some time with this magazine, reading SERVE reflections, but the tendency may still be to shift focus to next summer and a new theme. Before that happens, let me encourage you to continue to support students you helped hear the challenge to “Go Do Good.” There are two articles in this magazine that can be used to help students reflect on how their summer mission experience might impact their lives. Look for ways to connect with a 2019 SERVE participant and use these resources to begin a conversation that helps them consider how their experience might deepen their faith in Jesus Christ and his call on their lives.

If no one asks a student about a significant experience in their life, they might assume it doesn’t matter and move on.

Rick Zomer

Executive Director

This is an excerpt from the Fall 2019 magazine

Youth Unlimited Celebrates 100 Years of Ministry

2019 marks the 100th anniversary of Youth Unlimited serving students, churches, and communities through mission experiences and events.

Here’s how God has used Youth Unlimited since its founding:

Youth Unlimited History - GuysEstablished in 1919 as the American Federation of Reformed Young Men’s Society, Youth Unlimited has evolved and grown into what it is today. “Youth Unlimited has a long and storied history of partnering with the local Church to deepen students’ faith and assist youth ministry workers in relevant and exciting ways,” says Rick Zomer, current Executive Director of Youth Unlimited. “From our first Convention event in 1920 and first summer mission trip in 1960 through today, we stand in awe of the work God has done through Youth Unlimited and the number of lives impacted,” he added.

Currently, Youth Unlimited primarily serves students and churches through weeklong mission experiences across North America. Each summer 1200+ students and volunteers mobilize to minister in communities through the United States and Canada through SERVE, which has long been a flagship program of Youth Unlimited. “Youth Unlimited is more than mission experiences for teens, but SERVE has proven time and time again that the experiences and lessons learned are truly life-changing,” noted Zomer.

Youth Unlimited History - GalsYouth Unlimited has also successfully developed and launched various ministry support tools and curriculums, staged large-scale events for teens and youth ministry leaders, and partnered with other ministries to increase their reach in sharing the gospel with teens. “Our experiences have been wide-reaching over the years,” said Zomer, “but everything Youth Unlimited has done has been with the same primary focus – supporting church youth leaders to more effectively speak truth into teens’ lives and share the love of Christ with them,” he added.

With much excitement, Zomer noted, “During our 100th anniversary, we celebrate our past and all God has done to and through Youth Unlimited. But, we look forward with great anticipation as the Youth Unlimited team prepares for new and exciting ways to continue our ministry and, ultimately, continue impacting our world for Jesus Christ.” To celebrate the 100-year milestone, Youth Unlimited is planning several special events throughout 2019, including a golf outing, convention appearances, and two celebration dinners.

Infographic: A History of God’s Faithfulness to Youth Unlimited

Youth Unlimited 100 Years History Infographic

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About Youth Unlimited

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 for teens, Youth Unlimited partners with youth leaders to provide faith-forming experiences to middle school, high school, and special needs students.

How to Plan a Mission Trip

7 Things to Do When Planning a Mission Trip for Teens

How to plan a mission trip with youthIf you’re planning a mission trip for a youth group, it can seem overwhelming. Based on our experience, here are things to consider when planning a mission trip for youth:

  • Check dates with parents early in the process.

Even before October 1 of the year before the summer mission trip, begin asking parents if they have a family vacation planned or know of camps/activities in the summer you should plan around. Don’t just ask the students to ask their parents. Go to the parents directly. This gives you a good contact with them and avoids miscommunication.

  • Consider distance and destination.

How far do you want to travel? Will a long road trip build your group unity for the rest of the year? Does it fit the budget? How does the host church/community fit into the progression or rhythm of your mission strategy? Are you looking to move your students outside their typical environment (rural, urban, suburban, ethnicity, etc.) or teach them how others in a very similar environment love their community? Check out this list of mission trip locations for teens in the US and Canada or this list of 5 different types of impactful teen mission trips.

  • Budget carefully.

Budget for a mission trip to help everyone enjoy their timeIf you do not have a budget worksheet for your mission trips, ask your church treasurer to help you create one or call a youth ministry veteran. This is essential to your planning and fundraising. Raising funds is an important work of missions. Here’s some fundraising ideas for youth mission trips.

  • Raise prayer support.

Every summer there are over 1,500 students and youth leaders who go on SERVE, and we estimate there are more than 5,000 adults who support them in prayer. You might even put your vision, the intended outcomes and a bit about your team and your Host Church in your church bulletin before and after your trip.

  • Plan your post-trip process in three parts:

Debrief, follow up and follow through. This will help students understand what they think and how they feel about the trip and also help them integrate what they learned during the trip into their everyday life. See the SERVE Post-Trip Plan in the Resource Box for this process.

Check into it before you even start promoting. There is a planning timeline, a parents’ letter, pastors’ letter and promotional items to help you cast the vision.

Find Mission Trip Locations for Youth Groups
Get Help Planning Your Youth Group’s Mission Trip

  • Most importantly, change the thought from “Where should we go?” to “Let’s make disciples!”

When thinking about mission trips for teens, don’t get caught in the short-sited thinking of just planning a trip. Start with your heart to disciple your students in missional living that lasts a lifetime. Add to that your desire to serve and submit to the host church or ministry, and consider the 7 standards of excellence.

Youth Group Mission Trip PlanningWhether you’re looking to start a mission trip for teens or organize a service trip for them, as you ponder the mission trip being one aspect of discipleship, consider the following:

A progression:

  • How can your students plug into the existing community outreach of your church or help advance it?
  • What experiences will teach your students how to minister in their own back yard?
  • How can they see the strengths and needs of your own community?

Consider planning a mission trip this summer that will help expand their understanding of how God works through churches to reach a community.

Local Mission TripThen, build toward that trip with some late winter and spring service projects in your own backyard.

Plan to go back to those service projects in August – October to follow up relationally, and perhaps continue through the rest of the school year.

For more help on planning a specific trip, contact us or feel free to call our office (1-616-241-5616).

A rhythm:

You might consider a very local mission trip for your students in middle school, then a regional one for grades 9 and 10, and a longer distance trip for your older students. Or, keep them all together and go local, regional and long distance progressively.

You do not have to leave the country to learn about another culture!

No matter where you live in the United States or Canada, you can find first/second generation immigrants (or possibly first nation people groups) to learn from and serve with. In fact, Youth Unlimited has some customizable mission trip locations in the US and Canada that include cross-cultural learning.

Find Mission Trip Locations for Youth Groups
Get Help Planning Your Youth Group’s Mission Trip

Your teaching:

Preparation for a mission trip begins with teachingYour mission trip and service projects are like fence posts. They won’t do much good without the rails of ongoing mentoring relationships (in missional living) and solid week-to-week Bible teaching.

Add into your curriculum Bible content on missions, missional living and stories of those who live life on mission. The Youth Unlimited Resource Box has suggested pre- and post-trip teaching sessions. Talk about, or even bring in and interview, the business leader who sees their career as missions,\ or the pregnancy center director or the prayer warrior for your missionaries, etc.

Are you planning a youth mission trip?

Get a FREE copy of the Complete Guide to Planning a Youth Mission Trip. This complete guide will help make you plan your youth mission trip from beginning to end!

Get the FREE eBook


For help on planning a specific trip, contact us or feel free to call our office (1-616-241-5616).

SlideShare Version

This post is an edited excerpt from the Youth Unlimited Magazine (Fall 2015).


We believe that whether mission trips help or not depends on the type of mission trip you have. Real lasting impact is never accomplished in a week. This is why we partner with local churches to provide our SERVE mission trips! All our sites are run by volunteers who live and work in these communities all year long.

We believe that SERVE mission trips provide a two-fold impact:

  1. On the individual involved in SERVE. We hope that each student and adult:
    • Become doers of the Word and not hearers only
    • Become justice conscious, meeting needs while being introduced to the root causes and concerns
    • Grow in their personal faith
    • Continue serving others when they return to their home church and community
  2. On the relationship between the church and the community. We hope that the week of SERVE helps them to:
    • Identify community assets and needs
    • Provide an infusion of energy to their mission, vision, and outreach efforts
    • Help deepen personal relationships and partnerships within their local community. Our host sites are encouraged to partner with ministries that they have an existing relationship with and allow this group of teenagers to bring energy and excitement to the long-term partnership.

Keep It Safe: Make photocopies of your passport’s identification page and/or of your identification cards, and keep the copies separate from the original when you travel. For added security, leave a copy with a friend or relative at home.

Traveling with Minors: Any adult who is not a parent or guardian should have written permission to supervise the child from the parent or guardian, as well as the child’s identification, and carry it with them. A letter would also facilitate entry for any one parent traveling with their children. This permission letter should contain addresses and telephone numbers where the parent or guardian can be reached. (Example Consent to Travel Form – find more forms and resources hereIt is strongly recommended that the letter is notarized.

There are numerous resources for your church to use in the planning and preparation for your trip. Visit our online Resource Box!

What’s New In 2019?

Registration for the SERVE 2019 teen mission trip season is about to open NOW OPEN and we wanted to let you know about some new things!

If you ever have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

  1. New SERVE Youth Mission Trip Sites for 2019
  2. New Background Check Policy
    • In year’s past, we have required that all Adult Leaders (21 and over), as well as host team members, have a background check on file with their church. This year, in order to have better accountability and peace of mind at our sites, we are requiring that a copy of each background check be sent directly to our office.
    • We are also changing our definition of “current” to three years instead of five. (For the 2019 season the background check must have been completed after June 15, 2016)
    • For more information and details on how to get a background check CLICK HERE.
  3. The Cost of SERVE
    • For many years, we have been able to keep the cost of SERVE steady at $360 USD. Because the cost of living continues to increase we have raised our price to $375 USD* for 2019 youth mission trips. This price increase will allow us to continue providing you with quality experiences as well as increase the amount our host teams receive in order to cover their costs for the week. *These reflect the cost of a high school SERVE site before April 1st. Please double-check the site description page of the site you are attending to confirm the price.
  4. Revised 3 Step Registration Process
    • Step One: Save Your Spots!
    • Step Two: Complete Your Online Paperwork. This must be done by March 31, 2019, or there will be late fee charges.
    • Step Three: Payment Due. Payment in full for all SERVE Sites is due on May 15, 2019.
    • Learn more and complete step one HERE.
  5. Sending Leader Training
    • We are excited to be piloting a sending church leader training program for the 2019 season. These short videos will help your Adult Leaders prepare for the SERVE week, covering topics such as what it means to be a small group leader, leading with integrity and modeling a safe culture.
    • More details about this program will be released later. Make sure to follow along with our monthly newsletter and social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) for details.

Middle School: A Key Age

Interview with Scott Post

“I would say youth who have participated in SERVE go on to be more regularly involved in local service opportunities, both while they are in high school and beyond.”

In a cultural climate which tells us our youth are leaving the church and faith in God is declining, Scott believes middle school is a key age to engage students in faith formation.

During the year, Scott encourages his middle schoolers to go past just reading their Bibles and praying every day. “We’ve spent a lot of time in the context of our community intentionally building spiritual practices that help us live out the gospel.” SERVE, for his group, becomes an extension of that goal. “SERVE is a spiritual practice of trying on, for a short period of time, what it means to live out the gospel. Because they had a good feeling or a good experience serving people in these other contexts, they have an easier time thinking, oh, maybe it would be ok to spend my time and my life serving people here, right where I live.”

The students on these trips cannot always see for themselves the impact SERVE has. “[If this is their first time signing up], they are expecting this is going to be an enjoyable trip, most likely with their friends, where they are going to meet new people, learn about God, serve some people and probably have a lot of fun. In the process of reflection [after the trip], they start to see how the experience of SERVE is deeply connected to what they believe about God or what we believe about Jesus or what it means to live out the gospel story.”

There is no doubt in Scott’s mind that bringing both middle schoolers and high schoolers on SERVE is valuable and worth it. He encourages others to “trust the results” and says, “Our church has seen the fruit of [SERVE] play out in these kids’ lives and years down the road. Easily.”

Scott is the Youth Pastor at CrossPoint CRC in Brampton, ON
[This is an excerpt from the Fall 2018 Magazine. To read more stories CLICK HERE.]

Authentic Community

By Jacob VanDam

Before attending Gallatin Valley SERVE, I didn’t have a framework for what would take place at SERVE or how Christ’s would connect me with two influential communities. Once I arrived, strangers from across the country quickly became family. One of the main topics was community, which I initially thought was just simply “making friends”. But it wasn’t just that; it was having a spiritual bond with the whole community and everyone there.


A few weeks after SERVE, my family received the news that my dad has stage four colon cancer. This was a blow to the huge spiritual high I was on through the week in Montana. I continued devotions every night, hoping God had my dad in his hands, but every night it kept feeling like the things said at SERVE were just thoughts and ideas that were never actually going to happen, and that bothered me.


Soon after, I got a text from one of my best friends I met at SERVE. They were bringing everyone from Montana back here to Minnesota. This mini weekend retreat helped me realize the ways I could make a difference in my own community. You never know what it’s like until you actually witness it done in your own community.


These two SERVE trips have affected my life like no other. These experiences have helped me see the hope in my dad’s battle with cancer and other family tragedies I have witnessed. My dad going with me on these two trips, as weak as he has been with chemotherapy and other operations, helps me see how many easy obstacles I have turned into hardships in the past years.


My dad has battled cancer and fought with it for seven months now as I’m writing this. He’s conquered a twelve-hour surgery on his birthday and is an inspiration to any battle I go through in my life. What SERVE has done for me through this, is allowed me to see the authentic community right here in our small town. We have received so many cards and prayers, and it’s my goal to give others the same support I got.


I love talking to people and being there for anyone who needs me. I don’t ever want anyone to be alone for any battle they are going through in their life, and I learned this through SERVE. Without the two trips, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wouldn’t have been able to take my dad’s diagnosis the way I did and translate it to the way I live my life right now.


About the Author:
Jacob was a student participant at Gallatin Valley SERVE 2017.

Engaging Youth

by Kevin VanderVeen

As a youth pastor, I find myself praying for young people in the church often. I pray young people will discover the depth of God’s love for them and know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. I pray they will take joy in God as the greatest treasure of their life. I pray they will become increasingly aware of how God has uniquely gifted them to serve in his kingdom. I pray the young people in the church may experience a sense of urgency to use and develop their gifts for God’s glory.

At Covenant, we are blessed with young people of all ages, and we’re learning how to approach our ministry to young people in a way that is strategic and developmentally appropriate. As we wonder about what this looks like, we find ourselves asking questions like:

How do we engage young people meaningfully so they will grow and develop spiritually? And what congregational practices lead to spiritual maturity in our young people? In my experience, we are not alone in wrestling with questions like these. The fact is, ministering to young people is an area of concern for the church, and we are all trying to learn how to do this well.

Each ministry context is different, which means ministry will take a different shape in each of our church communities. I would like to suggest, though, that there are some things we can do, regardless of context, to strengthen our ministry to young people. Strengthening our programs or making programmatic changes is not one of those things. If we are going minister to young people in the church effectively, then we need to think bigger; we need to begin thinking about the culture within our church communities. Young people want to feel as though they are a part of the church, and they want to be embraced by the church as a valued part of the body of Christ. To me, that suggests that we, as churches, need to enfold young people into the life of the church.

What would that look like?

Fuller Youth Institute put together a list of common characteristics that are present in churches engaging young people effectively. Here are four of those characteristics:

Cultivating authentic community through peer and intergenerational relationships.

Relationship is key, but youth need both peer and intergenerational relationships. Many churches offer opportunities for peer relationships but struggle with intergenerational relationships. I wonder what it would look like for us to get together, intergenerationally, to share our faith stories. We encourage young people to reflect on their faith stories, but do we ever share our stories with them? I have been blessed by hearing stories from the older members in our community. We have all experienced God in different ways, and sharing those experiences helps build relationships.

Treating parents as active partners in discipleship.

Youth ministry is always youth and family ministry. As churches, we need to find meaningful ways to encourage and equip parents as they partner with us in discipleship. Many parents want to be a part of their children’s spiritual growth, but they’re not sure how, so they hand off the responsibility to church leaders. We need to find ways to give parents the tools they need to partner with us in discipleship.

Intentional engagement with wider culture with a redemptive focus.

Perhaps the greatest gift that we, as churches, can give to young people is the capacity to think critically and theologically about the world around them. Our approach must be twofold: first laying a theological foundation, and second, engaging with broader culture with a redemptive focus.

Corporate worship that is both engaging and intergenerational.

In our context, one of the most celebrated times is corporate worship, and young people love being involved. We have young people leading worship, reading scripture and running our technology. Our young people love having leadership in worship, and the Covenant community has been blessed by their leadership. When worship leading and planning is intergenerational, young people are drawn in and engaged.

As a pastor, I pray for the young people in the church today, but I also pray for the church. I pray God may lead and guide us forward as we seek to be faithful to his calling for us. I pray the church may foster intergenerational relationships, partner with parents, engage the world well and worship in inclusive and meaningful ways.

When the church engages young people meaningfully, church ministry thrives. We are on a journey of learning how to engage young people effectively, let us learn together.


Kevin is part of the Niagara, ON Host Team as well as the Pastor Of Community at Covenant CRC in St. Catharines, ON.
[This is an excerpt from the Fall 2017 Magazine. To read more stories CLICK HERE]


The Name Of Love

By Gil Clelland

Love has a name.

We were out on an educational walk in our city’s core learning about poverty. Six SERVE students and I were engaged in a good conversation, trying to understand how people can end up on the streets and what we can do to respond. And then we saw him.

He sat there alone. People walked by. Perhaps they did not notice him. Perhaps they did not want to notice him. Grey, weathered clothing blended into the grey, weathered sidewalk. An empty hat opened expectantly to offerings from passers-by. A cardboard sign – “Any help will do.”

I knelt down to speak to him. The youth gathered with me. He looked at us all, and his hauntingly empty eyes met mine. “New to the city?” I asked.

“Just passin’ through…off to Toronto…soon, I hope”

“My name is Gil. Good to meet you,” I said, and I offered my hand.

“Yeah…” No hand returned.

I withdrew my hand and sat down. The youth knelt in close. We talked for a bit. Small talk was tough. I tried. Dave, a 14-year-old youth from a small farming community tried to share a bit. This man did not respond much. Sometimes, trust is hard to build for someone who has seen so much. After a few minutes, we got up to leave. We excused ourselves and turned away.

“I’m Ken…” I turned back. His hand was out. I shook his hand, caught his eyes and a moment of connection occurred. Ken felt safe enough with us to share his name. He looked at each one of the young people. In order, he shook their hands. “Thanks for stopping to say hello.”

We walked on for some time after that in silence. We each knew that we had just experienced something sacred. Then I reflected about the homeless memorial in Toronto. Thousands of people are listed there. People who have died on the streets. By far, the most common name among those dead is John Doe. John Doe is the name the city gives to people when they don’t know their real name. In other words, many of those people named and listed as John Doe died alone. They didn’t even have their name. And that is the biggest problem with homelessness. People are home-less. They do not have all the things we think of when we think of home. Sometimes, not even their name.

Jesus commanded us to love our neighbours as ourselves. The question I ask is, “How can we love our neighbours if we don’t know their name?” It is only when we get to know people by their name, by their story, seeing them as truly human, that we can begin to love them.

At SERVE, we try to break those barriers. We try to get to know others by their name. At SERVE, we get to hear their stories. We share our stories. We sit for a while. It may be tough. Small talk may seem wooden and uninspired for a while, but we learn to keep trying.

Love begins with “hello.”

Gil is the speaker at London, ON SERVE as well as the pastor of Sanctuary London.

This is an excerpt from the Fall 2017 Magazine. To read more stories CLICK HERE.

Looking Forward to 2018

It’s hard to believe SERVE 2017 is behind us and the planning for SERVE 2018 is under way!

We are excited to unveil the theme for SERVE 2018, Love God – Love the World, in this issue of the Youth Unlimited Magazine. In Luke 4:18-19 it says, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Through our SERVE sites next summer, we long with great anticipation to see students discover Christ for the first time or in a fresh new way and then empower them to reflect his love in this broken world!

Jeff SERVE 2017

However, before we dive too far into SERVE 2018, we’ll take some time in this issue to reflect on a few of the moments of transformation that have already happened to students at SERVE. You’ll read about when the Holy Spirit moved in a student’s life at SERVE through the article SERVE Shoes and when the Holy Spirit visited a man living on the streets through a group of students in the article The Name of Love.

When you think about all the students who participate each summer, all the volunteers at each SERVE Site that plan the week and all the

adult leaders that take the students on a SERVE week, it is clear that God really does use SERVE to make a great impact on this world each summer.

Youth Unlimited is blessed to partner with you through SERVE to connect students with Christ, the Church and the Community.

Serving together,

Jeff Kruithof


This is an excerpt from the Fall 2017 magazine. To read more CLICK HERE.

5 to Thrive

Matthew 14

17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.



Giving Tuesday is coming up and we are dreaming big and small about what that means for Youth Unlimited. We know that every organization you know is asking for money, time, and resources from you. It’s a lot of pressure, but if its ok, we would like to add one more opportunity.

We want to dream small and have faith in big results.

In the same way that Jesus stretched those loaves of bread and fish, he is still multiplying our investment daily.  That’s where our big dream comes in. We are trusting him with a $5 investment and he is changing lives forever.


What is $5 worth?

A Latte, a pack of batteries, a pizza, a student subscription to Spotify. At SERVE $5 buys a student a week full of personal devotions and a learning experience that can develop into a lifelong habit of studying God’s word. This Giving Tuesday please consider dreaming small with us and dreaming big with God, helping instill the habit of daily time with God.


Donate Today!

$5 provides one student the 7-day devotional book for a week of SERVE.

$25 provides the devotional book for 5 students.

$50 provides devotional books for a whole youth group! *based on an average group size*

#GivingTuesday | #GivingTuesdayca | #5toThrive

Giving Tuesday


SERVE 2018 Theme | Love God, Love The World

This summer at SERVE 2018, the Theme for our youth group mission trips will be Love God, Love The World. Below are our Key Passage and Key Thought behind this curriculum.

>> Key Passage:

Luke 4:18-19

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,

to set the oppressed free,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

>> Key Thought:

Jesus begins his ministry in Luke’s Gospel by going to the synagogue where he reads from the book of Isaiah. When he finishes, he calmly sits down, and tells those sitting there, “All of this is being fulfilled right in front of your very eyes.” For Luke, this passage from Isaiah is a snapshot of God’s mission to the world. In Jesus Christ, God has come to save us from our sin, to restore our relationship with him, but the good news is more than that.

The gospel is good news for those who suffer, it is good news for those living in poverty and racism, it is good news for people struggling with slavery and bondage in every form. In that synagogue, some 2,000 years ago, Jesus tells us that he has come to reveal God’s love for a world that desperately needs to be reminded of who we are and who we were created to be.

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells many parables that imaginatively tell us what it looks like when God is in charge. These are stories that show us what God is like, how much God loves us and how much God cares about our lives in this world. They also show us that Jesus asks all of us to become his disciples so we can participate in this mission by showing others a small sign of God’s love.

In each of the parables, we will read this week, we see how loving God always leads to loving our neighbor. Within the parable of the good Samaritan, we’ll see how loving God means “coming near” to those in need. In the parable of the prodigal son, we’ll encounter God’s reckless love that runs out to meet his children. We’ll hear about what it means to “eat” with sinners and tax collectors and how it is in loving our neighbor that Jesus most often appears. After all, this is what this week is all about—participating in God’s mission to the world by loving our neighbor. This week, we invite you to follow Jesus by coming near to those who need to hear the good news of God’s love and grace. Our hope is that Jesus will appear to you in ways you never expected!

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This year’s theme was written by Jason Lief. Jason is a Theology Professor at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.