The Unexpected Prairie
Posted in Serve |

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… Read More

What Youth Leaders Really Want in a Mission Experience
Posted in Serve |

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.   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… Read More

Learning, Growing, Serve-ing – Hosting a Special Needs Serve
Posted in Serve |

Learning, Growing, Serve-ing – Hosting a Special Needs Serve

Special Needs Serve is tiring, emotional, and frustrating at times, and yet it is the highlight of my year!   I am amazed at all of the things that God has taught me. Over the last five years I have grown in my understanding of my own faith, my relationship with God and others, have experienced God in surprising places and have had a lot of fun in the process. (Never underestimate the fun factor!)   I work to orchestrate a Special Needs Serve that incorporates special planning and support in addition to the typical Serve template.   Youth mentors are important… Read More

The Story Behind the Service
Posted in Serve |

The Story Behind the Service

God’s story of redemption is the most powerful love story that we can share with one another. As youth leaders, we desire to share God’s story, and engaging students in experiences like Serve is a way for them to connect with God personally. It is an honor to serve alongside students and share with them in witnessing God’s redemptive work in new communities across the country. Those stories are what kept me involved with Serve for seven years and eventually led me to my career in youth ministry. Serve is known for setting up great worksites like building houses, or working in… Read More

Finding My Own Faith
Posted in Youth Ministry |

Finding My Own Faith

I grew up in a tumultuous home. My family was lower class, and I was the middle child of a somewhat recovered alcoholic father and a mother who was trying to piece together what her newfound faith in God meant for her and for her household. As a child and well into my teen years, my mother’s journey toward God was a hodgepodge of regurgitated televangelists’ theology. Our family bounced from church to church, receiving offerings of extreme grace one Sunday and being pelted with hell-fire-and-brimstone the next. I learned about Jesus at a young age. This foundation of knowledge… Read More

Share Your Story
Posted in Notes From the Executive Director |

Share Your Story

It was 4:00 PM, and I found myself sitting in the Arby’s on South Washington, my heart pounding, my hands shaky and my mouth dry as a cork. For the first time in my life I was inviting a student to begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.   If you were raised as I was, sharing your faith story or testimony with someone may be a foreign idea—something only done by missionaries. In 1 Peter 3:15 it says, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do… Read More