How to Plan a Mission Trip
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How to Plan a Mission Trip

7 Things to Do When Planning a Mission Trip for Teens If 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… Read More

5 Most Impactful Youth Mission Trips
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5 Most Impactful Youth Mission Trips

Many youth pastors and leaders have had a number of mission trip experiences either as a student or as a leader, so who better to ask about which ones have been the most impactful? Mission Work in a "Big City" Youth Summer Camp Mission Trip to Alaska International Mission Trip Local Mission Trips Bonus: Words of Advice Mission Work in a “Big City” Cities across the country are often laden with individuals and families who struggle to make ends meet, many who don’t even have a home. Taking part in a mission trip in a large city can be a real eye-opener and… Read More

Engaging Youth
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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… Read More

The Year I Went To All The Canadian SERVE Sites
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The Year I Went To All The Canadian SERVE Sites

By: Ron deVries The summer of 2017 will forever be etched in my hard drive (and human brain) as the year I thought it would be a cool idea to visit every Canadian SERVE site. I knew it would be a lot of traveling and although some things prevented me (I am reminded of the two and half hour delay waiting somewhere in the seemingly far reaches of highway between 427 and 403) from spending more time with each of these incredible sites. Here are a few highlights for me. Watching our host teams in action made me swell up with Christian pride. I witnessed Kingdom people doing Kingdom… Read More

The Many Benefits of a Service Trip for Your Church Youth Group (Infographic)
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The Many Benefits of a Service Trip for Your Church Youth Group (Infographic)

If you have ever been on a SERVE trip (or really any kind of service trip), you can testify that it is a life changing experience. But, have you ever tried to explain that to someone who hasn’t ever experienced a mission trip themselves? It’s hard. You want to tell them all about the feelings you felt and the gratitude you received and all the lessons you learned; however, sometimes it’s too difficult to put those things into words. So, what do you do when you want to take your youth group on a service trip and you need to convince some of those critical people in your church… Read More

Stepping Up
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Stepping Up

by Don Koops, Youth Unlimited Board Member During my years of youth ministry, I helped take groups on 12 SERVE trips to the states of Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota and Virginia, as well as three trips to Ontario, Canada. I’ve also coordinated seven weeks of SERVE at my own church. The church I attend is a relatively small fellowship, so when we have hosted SERVE we have enlisted the services and assistance of churches in a broad range of denominations within a 25-mile radius. This has brought us all closer together for a united purpose and opened our… Read More

Spread Shalom
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Spread Shalom

by Annika Bangma, Whitinsville SERVE Host Team Coordinator In June of 2014, our town of Northbridge (of which Whitinsville is a village) had just voted down a hefty tax override that would give the local public school additional resources. Although there are many reasons why the override failed, a writer in the opinion column of our local newspaper argued, “The major obstacle we continually face is that an “organized” subgroup of voters does not feel the civic need to invest in things that enhance our public school system and town services. This subgroup of voters isn’t the… Read More

Park Rangers
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Park Rangers

The following is an excerpt from our Youth Unlimited Summer Magazine. To view the whole magazine, click here. The opportunity to have been part of the “Park Rangers” group at my church has drastically changed the way I look at and interact with my church today. Planning to host a SERVE trip with a congregation of our size didn’t seem possible, but I was amazed to see the abundance of support from the members of our church and community. People were signing up to lead games, cook meals, help out with job sites and be a part of the main Host Team. The Park Rangers group, in… Read More

Seeing Jesus In the Brokenness
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Seeing Jesus In the Brokenness

by Laura, High River SERVE Participant, 2014 In the summer of 2014, a group of students from my church, Maranatha Christian Reformed Church in Edmonton, Alberta, embarked on a SERVE mission trip to High River, Alberta. High River had been hit with a disastrous flood one summer earlier, and as a result, the entire city had to be evacuated for 10 days. Our mission on the SERVE trip was to assist the town in cleaning up any damage that had come from the flooding… and there was a lot of it! We painted battered fences, rebuilt decks and houses, landscaped, built gardens, etc., but… Read More

Pray Like it Depends on God
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Pray Like it Depends on God

The following is an excerpt from our summer magazine. To view the whole magazine, click here. I’ve heard the saying, “You work like it depends on you and you pray like it depends on God.” I’m not sure about the theology of that statement, but it sure does reflect the past nine months of activity for Youth Unlimited. The Youth Unlimited staff and our 28 SERVE teams are in full preparation mode for SERVE 2017. 1,500 students and leaders will converge at 28 host churches to serve their communities on behalf of God and that local church. Throughout their week, students will… Read More

Meeting Jesus
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Meeting Jesus

The following is a testimony of a youth leader who experienced SERVE in Toronto last summer. This was the first SERVE experience this group of youth group kids ever had and it was such an amazing experience! We brought a bunch of country kids to the big city, and while none of them are planning on moving any time soon, they embraced the experience and learned so much from it! I loved the many ways that we learned about homelessness and that homelessness is not just a result of laziness. The best part was our nightly worship. I've been on a handful of trips like this, and the… Read More

Forever Changed
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Forever Changed

The following is a testimony of a student who experienced SERVE in Gallatin Valley, Montana in 2016, which forever changed her life. Gallatin Valley SERVE 2016 showed me what it's like to be a true Christian. Through my experience at SERVE, I was able to deepen my relationship with Christ by giving Him complete control of my life during the message that took place at the day at the lake. My life is now forever changed. Christ is taking me places I could never go on my own. SERVE helped me realize God's calling for my life. I am now planning on attending a Christian college in… Read More