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THE STORY hear live tell

YOUTHUNLIMITED MAGAZINE SPRING 2013 SUMMER 2013 | FINDING MY OWN FAITH | A PEEK AT 2014 | RESOURCE BOX youthunlimited.org | 1


THINK GLOBALLY

FROM THE MIDWEST TO THE MIDDLE EAST Wherever God Leads Around the corner or across the globe, Calvin students are challenged to think about the intersection of faith, local needs and global perspectives:

+ studying in over 30 countries on six continents + welcoming nearly 400 international students on campus + engaging in more than 3,500 service-learning projects, both local and global Join the global conversation, meet the neighbors‌ and see where God leads. www.calvin.edu 2 |SPRING 2013


Contents OPENING NOTE: SHARE YOUR STORY ............................. PG. 2 FINDING MY OWN FAITH....................................... PG. 6 LIVE IT 2013...................................................... PG. 8 THE CHICAGO PROJECT 2013.............................. PG. 12 SERVE 2013. . ................................................... PG. 14

YOUTH UNLIMITED | SPRING 2013 Youth Unlimited has a rich 90 year history of assisting churches ministering to youth. Birthed out of the Christian Reformed Church, Youth Unlimited remains committed to the reformed perspective while serving alongside congregations of any denomination. We strongly believe that the local church is the tool God is using to reveal himself to this world, and we are blessed to partner with congregations to offer faith-forming experiences that reach this generation of youth for Jesus Christ! This informational magazine is printed in the United States as a free resource to churches across North America. It is published triannually by Youth Unlimited, Grand Rapids, MI. Design & Publication Director | Jim Bowerman Contributing Writers | Jerry Meadows, Jeff Kruithof, Jim Bowerman, Millie Hoekstra, Shellie Power, Elisa Fernandez, Jolene DeHeer

STAFF PICKS.. ................................................... PG. 18

Cover Photo Credit | Amanda Bowerman | amandamaedesign.com *Photo taken at the 2013 Youth Unlimited Summit.

SERVE 2014. . ................................................... PG. 20

Editor | Megan Nollet

LEARNING, GROWING, SERVe-ING........................ PG. 24 WHAT YOUTH LEADERS REALLY WANT IN A MISSION EXPERIENCE................................. PG. 26 STUDENT QUOTES. . ............................................ PG. 28

USA | Postmaster, please send undeliverable copies and address changes to: Youth Unlimited PO Box 7259 Grand Rapids, MI 49510 Canada | Canada Post International Sales Agreement #41124116. Please send undeliverable copies and address changes to: Youth Unlimited PO Box 1100 Norwich, ON, N0J 1P0 THE YOUTH UNLIMITED TEAM:

What are these boxes? They are QR codes: two-dimensional barcodes that can be read by smart phones. Own a smart phone? 1. Download the app. 2. Scan the code.

Hold your phone over the code, and use its camera

and a QR app to read the QR code.

3. Enjoy!

The QR code will direct you to a site, a video, music,

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No smart phone?

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Executive Director: Jeff Kruithof 616.241.5616 ext. 3043 jeff@youthunlimited.org Missions Director: Jerry Meadows 616.241.5616 ext. 3040 jerry@youthunlimited.org Events Manager: Millie Hoekstra 616.241.5616 ext. 3063 millie@youthunlimited.org Office Manager & Program Admin: Alesha Ebeling 616.241.5616 ext. 3038 alesha@youthunlimited.org Marketing & Communication Director: Jim Bowerman 616.241.5616 ext. 3039 jim@youthunlimited.org Editor & Social Media Coordinator: Megan Nollet 616.241.5616 ext. 3045 megan@youthunlimited.org

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share your story

2 |SPRING 2013


“WHEN WE ARE ABLE TO WALK ALONGSIDE THOSE STRUGGLING WITH SIMILAR LIFE

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EXPERIENCES, THERE WILL BE NATURAL OPPORTUNITIES TO SHARE YOUR STORY AND JESUS’ ROLE IN IT. IN THE CONTEXT OF A REAL, AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIP, SHARING YOUR LIFE STORY GIVES YOUR

STUDENTS GLIMPSES OF HOPE IN A WORLD DEVOID OF HOPE APART FROM JESUS CHRIST.”

t 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 this with gentleness and respect.” It’s easy to understand why sharing our faith can be a fearful experience. There is risk involved. We could be thought of as a fanatic, or perceived as thinking we are better than others, or accused of being judgmental, and yet Christ desires us to show and share his love to the world—in our case, to students. Telling others about Jesus does not have to be scary, though. For example, if I asked you to tell me about the time you lost a loved one, or how you coped with being laid off, or how you survived a difficult class in school, I know you could, and I’m guessing you might even highlight how Jesus helped you through it. When we are able to walk alongside those struggling with similar life experiences, there will be natural opportunities to share your story and Jesus’ role in it. In the context of a real, authentic relationship, sharing your life story gives your students (believing or unbelieving) glimpses of hope in a world devoid of hope apart from Jesus Christ.

Back at Arby’s . . . I’ll never forget his quick, yet monotone response: “No thank you.” What Lord? Really? NO? I stepped out in faith, was obedient, and this is what I get—a NO! How could this be? Later that evening I was reminded that I have the opportunity to tell others about Jesus, but he has the responsibility to change hearts. That young man had not said no to me; he had said no to Jesus. Thankfully, Jesus does not always accept our first responses. God had helped me to plant a seed in this young man’s life, and only God could bring that seed of faith to bear fruit in his perfect timing. Even though the student’s response was not the one I had been praying for, it was the most alive I had ever felt as a Christ follower! This summer, as you find yourself on a faith-forming experience like Serve or Live It, ask yourself if God has placed someone in the group that needs to hear about Jesus through your story. My guess is that the answer will be yes! I hope that the articles and information on the following pages will be a blessing to you as you prepare. It’s also my prayer that God will help you discern the Holy Spirit’s whispers this summer, and give you the boldness to step out in faith.

Jeff Kruithof Executive Director Youth Unlimited

JEFF KRUITHOF

has 17 years of experience in non-profit leadership and a love for God’s work through the local church.

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JUNE 26-JULY 17, 2013 $320 PAR T ICIPAT ION FEE AL L O T HER EXPENSES PAID

4 |SPRING 2013


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finding my own faith BY JIM BOWERMAN

6 |SPRING 2013


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 hellfire-and-brimstone the next. I learned about Jesus at a young age. This foundation of knowledge was important, and along with my mother’s expanding journey, led me to say prayers I thought I meant, ask Jesus into my heart (on a regular basis!) and feel the pricks of a guilty conscious when I was sure I was not doing what Jesus would like. During my early teen years I thought this was all there was to faith in God.

would not be who I am today without having had the chance to escape everyday life to a safe place where I could learn to cry out for God in my own way. If you are a youth leader, take heart. Sometimes the smallest acts of care can change the trajectory of a young person’s life. While on a youth outing, my youth pastor, on a sudden whim of inspiration, gathered every available pot and bucket and turned them upside down for me to drum on as hard as I could. Banging on pots and pans at 13 or 14 to Wes King (showing my age) may not seem like a big deal, but it was the first time I felt like someone had taken the time to see into me, recognize my desires and encourage them. I still play the drums, and I still remember that it was my youth pastor who first took the time to foster my passion and taught me to use my gifts for Jesus Christ.

“Thank God also for youth group leaders and the opportunities they gave me to explore my own faith among my peers and among adults who felt called to foster the faith of young people. I Thank God for my would not be who I am late mother, but today without having thank God also had the chance to escape for youth group everyday life to a safe leaders and the place where I could learn opportunities they gave me to to cry out for God in my explore my own own way.” faith among my peers and among adults who felt called to foster the faith of young people. I

Then there was the camp week where I finally felt the freedom to say that “I just must not feel it as much as the other students” because my emotions and reactions to the week’s teachings and worship were just not like the rest, and I felt so guilty. One

dear, elderly lady sat me down and said that I was just trying too hard. Her words finally released me to be myself, because not all faith journeys should look alike. What a release from such simple words. For the first time, I quit overthinking and trying to mimic what other’s faith looked like, and I cried out to God on my own. She probably had no idea what freedom she gave me that day, or that I still hear her words when I feel out of place or am striving too hard to reach God when he is always right by my side. I needed escape from routine, home and everyday life to discover who I was in Christ. As an adult, I still need that. We are a people made for God’s whispers and shouts. Sometimes we just can’t hear them when we are surrounded by everyday life and all the things we think we’re supposed to be doing. This is why I work at Youth Unlimited today; students need time and space to begin forging their own journey with Christ. They need to receive care and mentoring from other adult Christians who love them. They need opportunities to get out of their comfort zones and make their faith their own. Check out our Digital Resource Box for Live It to find guidelines for building relationships and leading group discussion!

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I WANT MORE THAN JUST ANOTHER EVENT. I NEED: A LIFESTYLE A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING L TO KNOW MY GOD-GIVEN POTENTIA TO ENGAGE THIS WORLD

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MORRIS UNIVERSITY RT BE RO AT LD HE VI SI T YO UT HU NL IM IT ED .O RG FO R MO RE IN FO

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THERE IS A STORM COMING! BY JOLENE DEHEER

H

ave you ever watched a particularly powerful thunderstorm roll in? If you have, you can appreciate the sense of overwhelming power that occurs as the skies light up and the air snaps and rumbles with electricity. Sometimes the sound of the thunder is overpowering. It takes your breath away and fills you with awe and wonder. This summer at Live It you can experience awe and wonder as you gather together with hundreds of fellow Christians to worship the Lord who is King of the thunderstorm and King of your heart. Trust me; the power of the Holy Spirit resting on God’s people can make the power of a thunderstorm pale in comparison. Each evening we will gather for worship. At that time, the Adam Locker band will enable us to praise and worship God through music and singing. It has been said that the shortest distance between the

heart of God and the heart of man is a song. These amazing musicians are going to help us get as close to the heart of God as we can. Being that close to that much majesty and power has the potential to change you forever. The praise and worship will continue as Jarrod Jones and myself bring messages that will challenge and encourage you to appreciate how powerfully God can work in and through you. It is our prayer that the Holy Spirit will inspire you to appreciate anew the wonderfully unique way you are created and to dream big dreams about what you can do to help build God’s kingdom—not just during your time at Live It, but throughout your whole life. You are a person of great significance, and God has a plan to use you. Live It is designed to help you identify your passions for service and ministry and discover ways to use them as you go forward in your faith journey.

There is the potential for earth-shaking, life-changing power to be unleashed this summer at Live It. You can be sure that you will have an opportunity to experience God’s presence here in ways that will touch your heart and your life. Together we can praise and worship God so that the spiritual world rumbles with electricity and the power of God is released. There is no mistake—God has placed a call on your life! Join us at Live It to explore what that call is and experience the pure joy of living out that calling so that others will be blessed, God’s kingdom will grow, and God himself will be glorified. These could be the five most important days of your life! To increase the excitement even more, visit our Digital Resource Box for posters, bulletin inserts and more! Scan the QR code on page 7.

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PUT YOUR FAITH INTO ACTION! The Grow Track is going to be a place to BE with God. So often we seek him and his will by doing, but the Grow Track is going to be a different sort of God encounter. Participants will have a Family Group that they will travel with in this journey. Together they will wrestle with God questions, talk about doubts that believers face, and discuss and learn how to follow the example that Jesus sets in the Bible. Participants will seek to act like Jesus within the community of Pittsburg. Even more importantly, participants will learn the joy of expressing their faith story to others, how their story fits into God’s story and how to trust the plans he has for their lives. The Play Track will be active and interactive. Activities and initiatives will help everyone discover how to honor God on the court and on the field. Participants will be challenged 10 |SPRING 2013

by presenters who will speak on topics such as “Living a Distinctively Christian Life in the World of (Professional) Sports” and “Christian Leadership in a Secular Environment.” Competition and tournaments will take place in the afternoons, allowing participants to explore the joy of serving others as athletes and as members of a team. The Do Track will take place out in the community where participants will get to know the needs that exist there and experience how they can make a difference with their hands and hearts. They will be working with The Moon-township Project at the local Boys and Girls Club and doing cleanup in a low-income housing area. As participants also spend time at the local food bank, doing downtown cleanup, and revitalizing the train station facility, their deeds will be an expression of the love and joy of God in their lives.

Participants will give of themselves to support God’s greater cause. The Create Track will challenge participants to discover more fully their God-given talents and abilities as they work alongside talented instructors. As they create, whether in music, drama, dance, or graphic arts, they will see how their art is a part of God’s love for the world and learn how they can use it to glorify him and enrich the lives of others. While they spend their time exploring, expressing and living out their passion, participants will learn the value of becoming co-creators alongside the Creator of the universe.

Check out our Digital Resource Box for some great ways to create lasting impact from this experience! Scan the QR code on page 7.


SPEAKERS/WORSHIP LEADERS:

ADAM LOCKER

JOLENE DEHEER

Having gone from playing on the streets of New York City to being an opening act for Jars of Clay, Adam has acquired a strong voice and passionate melodies that make him an artist you won’t soon forget.

Jolene is one of the freshest and most inspirational speakers available today. Her dynamic life stories and practical insights move her audiences from gut-busting laughter to heart-felt tears.

JARROD JONES

Only minutes into his presentation, you’ll discover that Jarrod Jones stands out from the rest. Jarrod’s passionate delivery commands attention and leaves listeners riveted.

EXPERIENCE REDEEMER YOUR FUTURE: Choose from more than 70 majors and minors as you earn your BA, BSc. or B.Ed. degree. YOUR FAITH: Integrate your faith into the lecture hall, labs, residences, service opportunities and every other aspect of university life. YOUR COMMUNITY: Our supportive Christian university community will prepare you for a rewarding career, graduate studies or work in ministry.

Visit www.redeemer.ca now to book a campus visit or apply online.

777 Garner Road East, Ancaster, ON L9K 1J4 T. 905.648.2131 | F. 905.648.2134 | 1.877.779.0913

www.redeemer.ca

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TRINITY Christian COLLEGE

July 28 to August 1, 2013 VISIT YOUTHUNLIMITED.ORG FOR MORE INFORMATION

12 |SPRING 2013


Visit us online to see if there is still room for you!

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS “The church has left the building!” This summer, over 250 students and their leaders will flood the streets of Palos Heights, Illinois, just 30 minutes from the Windy City, to show Christ’s love and bring restoration to the community. Participants from across Canada and the U.S. will travel to Trinity Christian College, ready to worship in the sanctuary as well as the streets, advancing and expanding the ministry of the college and area churches. The Chicago Project is a chance for students to be a vital and lasting expression of Christ’s love to the community of Palos Heights, Illinois.

Hosting The Chicago Project for Youth Unlimited is a great extension of the ministry that our Trinity Christian College students do throughout the school year and helps us expand the incarnational ministry God has called us to. We’re not just about higher education. We’re about the Father’s business, as Christ called us to be, in our community. — Jeremy Klyn, Trinity Christian College Admissions Director youthunlimited.org | 13


STUDENTS BRINGING HOPE T O A B R O K E N W O R L D

VISIT YOUTHUNLIMITED.ORG TODAY FOR MORE INFORMATION 14 |SPRING 2013


that the man of the house was in a wheelchair, hardly able to speak or to move on his own. His lovely wife offered us lemonade and cookies. We decided to initiate a conversation with our new friends by asking questions in order to learn more about them. After our lunchtime interview, we learned that he had had a horrible stroke and that she was now his primary caregiver. This woman was in her late 70s and was completely devoted to the care of her husband every day: bathing him, clothing him, feeding him. She didn’t complain once. She described to us the blessing of their marriage and how she was happy to care for him in all these ways.

THE STORY BEHIND THE SERVICE

BY ELISA FERNANDEZ

God’s story of redemption is the most powerful love story that we can share with one another. As youth

food bank, perhaps even folding clothes at a local pawn shop. Although all of these sites are good and in need of help from willing and able youth, how often are we sharing the story behind the service that our youth are engaging in?

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.

One summer, I took a group of youth to Holland, MI on Serve. We were assigned to paint a house belonging to an elderly couple who attended the Host Church. After two days of scraping off peeling paint, my group of six was running out of steam. The work was difficult, the sun was beating on us, and my students were growing weary of the project.

Serve is known for setting up great worksites like building houses, or working in fields, stocking the local area

The elderly couple invited us inside, and we joined them for lunch with our brown sack lunches. We noticed

We finished the house-painting project for our new friends that week. It took forever, but we completed the project! On the Friday evening before Serve was over, I asked my group what their favorite part of the week was. I was blown away when they all agreed that it was spending time with the elderly couple; learning about their life and their unconditional love for one another. The testimony of those being served can impact the life of a young person. As leaders, let us encourage our students to discover the story that lies behind the service. You will never know the story unless you ask. Make the service personal and engage with people’s stories; let them affect your group. In the end, Serve is not so much about the work we do for people as it is about witnessing God’s glory through the people that we serve. Check out our Digital Resource Box online for more ways to prepare your group for a meaningful experience at Serve!

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Serve LOCATIONS FOR SERVE 2013

6 6

6

6 6

6

6

6 6

6

6 6 6 6 6 6 6 MARCH LETE(SPRING BREAK) COMP9–16

JUNE 22–29

JUNE L FUL8–15

JUNE 29–JULY 6

JUNE L FUL22–29

CROWN POINT, INDIANA

JUNE 6 L FUL29–JULY

JUNE 22–29 (LAGRAVE)

JULY 5–11 (SPECIAL NEEDS)

JUNE (NORTH CHURCH) L FUL22–29

JULY 6–13 L FUL

BRADENTON, FLORIDA

HOUSTON, TEXAS

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY 16 |SPRING 2013

PLATTE, SOUTH DAKOTA

AUSTIN, TEXAS

VANASTRA, ONTARIO

OTTAWA, ONTARIO

LONDON, ONTARIO


JULY LL FU6–13

JULY LL FU13–20

JULY LL FU6–13

JULY LL FU20–27

JULY LL FU6–13

PORT PERRY, ONTARIO

JULY (NORTH CHURCH) LL FU20–27

JULY LL FU6–13

ROSELAWN, INDIANA

JULY LL FU20–27

JULY 6-13 (FAIRFAX)

JULY 20–27

JULY LL FU13–20

JULY 20–25 (SPECIAL NEEDS)

JULY 13–19 (MIDDLE SCHOOL)

JULY LL FU20–27

JULY LL FU13–20

JULY 3 LL FU27–AUGUST

MUSKEGON, MICHIGAN

ORILLIA, ONTARIO

WASHINGTON, D.C.

ALAMOSO, COLORADO

BYRON CENTER, MICHIGAN

HAMILTON, ONTARIO

SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA

HOLLAND, MICHIGAN

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY

PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO

REDLANDS, CALIFORNIA

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA

WOODSTOCK, ONTARIO

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA

JULY (NORTH CHURCH) LL FU13–20 NEWARK, NEW JERSEY

A FEW OF OUR SITES STILL HAVE SPACE, AND THEY ARE LOOKING FOR YOU! CHECK OUT OUR SITE DESCRIPTIONS ONLINE TO FIGURE OUT WHICH LOCATION YOU WOULD LIKE TO ATTEND!

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what the youth unlimited staff is into lately Movies , Mus ic , A p p s , T V , Book s a n d W e b

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Serve 2014

W H AT C A N G O D D O W I T H M E T O D AY , R I G H T W H E R E I A M ?

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ISAIAH 58

R E G I S T R AT I O N O P E N S N O V E M B E R 1 AT Y O U T H U N L I M I T E D . O R G / S E R V E

T H E S U M M E R O F 2 0 1 4 M A R KS 2 5 Y E A RS O F S E RV E !

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Serve at a

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Serve Sites

Serve Projects

Serve Sites are one week mission experiences hosted by local churches. Host Churches request 40 - 100 students to help with their community outreach and revitalization. The students and youth leaders come from four or more Sending Churches with a maximum Sending Church group size of 15 participants. Groups larger than 15 must register for two or more Serve Sites. This is because Serve Sites are meant to provide students with an experience of fellowship and unity with the larger body of Christ. Relationships at Serve Sites deepen fast since the participants are put into random work teams, and those teams also function as the students’ small groups throughout the week.

Serve Projects last for five days and are hosted at a Christian college. These colleges can host upwards of 250 students at a time in order to build on their year-round community outreach efforts. During a Serve Project, youth groups stay together the entire time and are led by adults from their own church. There is no limit on how many students a group can bring. Serve Projects are meant to provide an atmosphere of high energy and service opportunity in which youth groups can grow unity with each other and connect relationally with their own leaders, while also having plenty of opportunity to interact with people from other churches. The Chicago Project will be back in 2014, along with a new location—The Prairie Project!


Glance The Serve Experience

Typical Day

Participating in Serve, whether at a Site or a Project, will introduce your students to the concepts of justice and missional living. Any Serve experience you choose will introduce and involve your students in one or more of the following types of service: • Community Revitalization • Compassion for the Marginalized • Creation Care • Recreational Ministry for Children • Acts of Kindness

7:00 AM – Breakfast/Prepare Lunches 8:00 AM – Devotions 8:45 AM – Leave for Worksites 4:00 PM – Showers/Free Time 6:00 PM – Dinner 7:30 PM – Evening Session 9:00 PM – Small Group Discussion 10:00 PM – Snack and Free Time 11:00 PM – Lights Out

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LEARNING GROWING SERVE-ING HOSTING A SPECIAL NEEDS SERVE

BY SHELLIE POWER

24 |SPRING 2013


Hosting a 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 in the model that we use. Mentors are typical youth (not sure that’s EVER possible) who give of themselves to be the immediate supports needed to accommodate the many different needs of the students who come for this mission experience. Each youth with a disability is paired with a peer mentor who participates in Serve alongside them and lends support where necessary. Seeing the growth that happens among the mentors is amazing. They are challenged to learn how to do something with someone as opposed to for someone. It is a week where they trade selfishness for selflessness. They learn about authentic relationship—relationships that are mutual. The week begins with terms like ‘mentor’ and ‘participant.’

The week always ends with terms like ‘friend’ and ‘buddy,’ communicating clear similarities—all equal and created for service.

Special Needs Serve flips our picture of disability, forcing us to see how everyone, regardless of ability, is created with gifts that contribute to building the body of Christ. It amazes me how many youth with disabilities do not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in a mission trip experience. I love the joy that the participants share when they are challenged to live out their faith—to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. Amy has been a participant at Serve many times. As leaders, we have seen her grow in many ways, but watching her learn to articulate a clear faith is by far the most rewarding. “I like Serve because it gives me a chance to give back to God, meeting new people and learning more about God. . . . It gives me a chance to grow spiritually and as a person. . . . Each year I renew my faith in God, and I come home with a new message, which I pass along to others.”

Special Needs Serve helps us as leaders grow in our ability to be vulnerable. We learn to worship without abandon—to be who we are, to be free and to express our faith in many ways. It also becomes a way to give testimony to the way in which God calls us all to live in community and in Serve-ice to him.

Your don atio n mat t e rs!

The only thing changing faster than technology these days is youth culture. Today’s generation of youth, and those following, are constantly finding themselves in a whole new culture. They face challenges, pressures and perspectives that shake their faith in ways previously not imagined. We firmly believe there has never been a time where churches could use the help of Youth Unlimited more than now! We need your help to keep connecting students to the love of Jesus Christ! Would you prayerfully consider making a financial investment to Youth Unlimited to ensure we continue to support our local churches as they minister to our youth?

S CA N T O D ONAT E T ODAY!

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With the goal of continual improvement in mind, Youth Unlimited asked ten youth leaders to explain what they hope for in a North American mission experience. Here’s a glimpse at their answers.

26 |SPRING 2013


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 missions and hosting. They consider how the Serve week integrates with their ongoing home missions and community outreach efforts. Resources and ideas are shared across an extensive network of Host Churches across Canada and the U.S. SIMPLICITY Missions is never “easy.” The very nature of missions demands that we grapple with spiritual battles and issues of injustice. However, by providing administrative help and an excellent Digital Resource Box, Youth Unlimited seeks to make the mobilization of students for the cause of Christ as simple as possible for church leaders. Clear communication is also important here. This is the difference between a smooth and simple experience or one in which groups feel confused and lost. Youth Unlimited encourages Host Churches to communicate clearly and often. THE GOSPEL Youth Leaders want their groups to experience a gospel-filled week. The Speaker, the Worship Leader and the adult leaders at Serve

are urged to make the gospel the center of everything that happens. Students will be reminded of the good news and that the death and resurrection of Christ is our motivation for serving in the community. A CHALLENGE At the end of the week, participants ought to be saying, “I worked hard, played hard and thought more deeply about my walk with Christ. I was stretched out of my comfort zone.” That’s the ideal. Now, a brief reality check: There are always a few students and even adults who do not want to be challenged. Sending Churches want Host Churches/Ministries to use grace and love when confronting behavior problems. Not all worksites will lead to amazing and fulfilling experiences. The Host Churches strive to connect the work to the need and the need to a person and their story. Even when that person or story is not obvious, however, students are still urged to serve with perseverance and a good attitude. LEADERSHIP ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND ASSISTANCE Some youth leaders are veterans and come with years of experience. Others are recruited at the last minute and need almost constant guidance. Host Churches/Ministries can assess adult leaders’ abilities and help them out as needed.

INCLUSIVE TRIPS Youth leaders and students work hard to raise the money for a mission trip, so hidden costs are not cool. Sure, an extra $5 for the day away is reasonable. But an extra $15 is not going to happen. Sending Churches shouldn’t have to pull out their wallet for anything except to purchase fuel for their vehicle. A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF PROTOCOLS AND INSURANCE IN CASE OF AN INJURY If there’s an incident, adults want answers and not confusion. Youth Unlimited has procedures in place to make sure students are cared for and God is glorified in the process. Youth Unlimited also has excellent secondary insurance with Mutual of Omaha, but there is paperwork to file and the parent/ legal guardian must be proactive after the student returns home. LONG-TERM IMPACT Youth leaders want to know that their group’s work mattered. They also want to help their own students integrate what they learned into their daily lives. In the Student and Leader versions of the Spiritual Life Guide and in the Digital Resource Box, Youth Unlimited supplies a Post-Trip Plan to help with follow-up. Have more to add to this list? Let us know by scanning the QR code to visit our forum!

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MY LIFE HAS DRAMATICALLY CHANGED BECAUSE I KNOW GOD IS GREATER AND MORE POWERFUL THAN I EVER IMAGINED. —Student, Holland, MI Serve

SERVE WAS A SPIRITUAL REPRIEVE FROM EVERYDAY LIFE, A TIME TO GET AWAY AND REALLY EXPERIENCE GOD AWAY FROM THE CONSTRAINTS OF THE WORLD. —Student, Heartland, KS Serve I FEEL READY TO ONLY LIVE FOR GOD NOW AND GET RID OF ALL OF THE RUBBISH IN MY LIFE. — Student, Plymouth Heights, MI Serve I DON’T HAVE AN EARTHLY FATHER, BUT NOW I KNOW THAT I HAVE MY HEAVENLY FATHER. —Student, Grand Rapids, MI Serve WHILE ON SERVE I REALIZED HOW TO SEE JESUS MORE CLEARLY—THE WORK HE DOES IN AND AROUND COMMUNITIES EVERYWHERE. —Student, Austin, TX Serve

Certificate in Youth MinistrY the prograM is designed for: • Youth workers • Pastors • Volunteers in youth ministry

• High school teachers • Guidance counsellors

For more inFormation: Rachel Janecek: rjanecek@redeemer.ca or 905 648.2139 x4544 www.redeemer.ca/youthministrycertificate

777 Garner Road East, Ancaster, ON L9K 1J4 T. 905.648.2131 | F. 905.648.2134 | 1.877.779.0913 28 |SPRING 2013

www.redeemer.ca


WE LOVE TO KEEP IN TOUCH

YOUTHUNLIMITED.ORG

FACEBOOK.COM/YOUTHUNLIMITED

TWITTER.COM/YUORG

ADDRESS: 1333 ALGER ST. SE, GRAND RAPIDS, MI 49507 | PHONE: 616.241.5616 EXT. 3038 | FAX: 616.264.6682| 29 youthunlimited.org


Youth Unlimited PO Box 1100 Norwich, ON, Canada N0J 1P0

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THE STORY hear live tell

YOUTHUNLIMITED MAGAZINE SPRING 2013 SUMMER 2013 | FINDING MY OWN FAITH | A PEEK AT 2014 | RESOURCE BOX

30 |SPRING 2013

Youth Unlimited Magazine | May 2013  

The Youth Unlimited Magazine is a triannual publication that is intentional about showcasing and informing today’s youth worker of Youth Unl...

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