Week To Year: How to turn a week-long service trip into a year-long process of transformation

If you’ve served in student ministry for any amount of time, it’s likely that you’ve participated in some type of mission, service, or outreach trip with your students. It’s also likely that some of your students came home from the trip saying things like:

“God changed my life.”
“I will never be the same.”
“I’m not the person that I was before.”

As youth workers, we have to celebrate when we hear students articulating moments of positive growth and transformation. However, we also have to grieve when we don’t see the growth and transformation manifested in their lives long-term. I’ve heard plenty of students and volunteers make pronouncements like this after an experience, only to profess a few weeks or months later that their lives are the same as they were before the trip and that the feel as if they’ve “lost” something since they returned home…

Read the full article at: https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/articles/week-to-year#sthash.YcyZcTqJ.dpuf

Advertisements

High School Service Trips, Part 3: Reflecting on the Experience

At several points throughout each day, and during an extended time of debriefing each evening, students and volunteers reflected on what they were experiencing. They shared how they were being challenged to rethink some of their assumptions about life and faith. Several students shared the following reflections:

  • A storm destroyed Mississippi, but people destroyed Detroit.
  • We are the story of the “Good Samaritan,” but most of the time we’re the religious people who didn’t help the suffering person.
  • The love of Jesus is a beautiful, unique thing.
  • The historical connection and conflict between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam is anything but simple.
  • It’s not okay to take your experience with a small number of people and project that experience onto their entire religion or culture.
  • I didn’t feel “welcome” where we were working today, but then again, if a bunch of people who looked different than me showed up in my neighborhood uninvited, I might not want to welcome them either.
  • We didn’t accomplish much this week. The problems here are bigger than a few people giving money or time. The system is messed up. That’s what needs to be fixed. […]

Read the full article at: https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/high-school-service-trips-part-3-reflecting-on-the-experience#sthash.ZQxFoz1f.dpuf

High School Service Trips, Part 2: Innovating and Executing the New Service Trip

Once we figured out the why of our trip, the what flowed naturally from there. It became much easier to sort through the possible partners, locations, and causes we could join. After having conversations with individuals and groups from around the country, we realized that we really didn’t know anything about our neighbor two hours to the east. We had a growing sense of confidence that Jesus was inviting us to take a step towards a relationship with our brothers and sisters in Detroit, Michigan.

Our church is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is approximately 160 miles west of Detroit. Although a two-hour drive doesn’t sound like an insurmountable distance to travel, aside from attending a sporting event or concert, many of our students and volunteers had never really experienced this part of our state…

Read the full article at: https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/high-school-service-trips-part-2-innovating-and-executing-the-new-service-t#sthash.HfWkLn0I.dpuf

High School Service Trips, Part 1: Navigating transitions from one experience to another

Too often in youth ministry, we tend to jump from one cause to the next. This gives our students missional whiplash, and I suspect prevents us from supporting the “cause” as much as we think we are.

I wouldn’t be able to recognize this reality except for a relationship that our ministry stumbled into nearly eight years ago. After Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, our church began an immediate and active presence in Waveland, Mississippi – the community most devastated by the storm. As an extension of the initial disaster relief Mars Hill provided, our high school ministry sought to get involved in any way we could…

Read the full article at: https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/high-school-service-trips-part-1-navigating-transitions-from-one-experience#sthash.sK2QqL3s.dpuf