The Sacrifice of Service
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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… Read More

What Kind Of “SERVE”-Ant are you?
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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… Read More

Life Changing Serve
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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,… Read More

My 51 – Menno, South Dakota Community
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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… Read More

My 51 – Alamosa CRC
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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… Read More

Feed the Need with a Can in Hand
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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… Read More

A Look at Middle School Serve
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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,… Read More

Divine Normal: Kingdom Living by Mere Mortals
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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… Read More

Bridging the Gap
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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… Read More

The Unexpected Prairie
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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
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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
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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