ServeUP New Orleans 2017
After about 28 hours sitting on a bus with 50 college students on the way to New Orleans, with an aching back and a sleep-deprived brain, at some point I inevitably think to myself, "Is this worth it?" But by the end of the week of ServeUP, the response to that question is always a resounding, "Yes!"
This year, something very special, something difficult to describe in an email update, happened in the ServeUP site of 60 students that I helped to direct.
This group of students was diverse in every way - including students from community colleges, ivy leagues, international backgrounds, spiritual & religious upbringings, non-religious and skeptical backgrounds, and everything in between. Throw all these people together, volunteer together during the day and discuss faith in the evening, and the result will be a week of stretching, challenging, and ultimately loving, each other more deeply.
Pictured above is the group from the University of New England, at the Habitat for Humanity work site.
We pressed deeply into challenging conversations about justice, inequality, economics, racial tensions in our culture, and honestly asked the question, "Does the Christian Gospel have anything to say about these issues?"
We heard personal stories from staff and students, some of which involved painful experiences, and the vulnerability that was modeled created a powerful environment in which honest responses were safe and valuable. As a result, when we invited the group to respond to what they heard throughout the week with public commitments before their peers, well over half of the 60 students stood in front of their friends, committing to seek reconciliation with God and reconciliation with others when they returned home.
Truly, in 5 years of working with ServeUP, I have never seen such an overwhelming response. It was a powerful reminder of the life-changing impact of this trip, and why it's worth pouring so much time and energy into.
Finally, as I continue to spend time on campuses, I am also looking to raise about 10% of my budget for the upcoming fiscal year (about $8000 total). If you feel so led, please click here
to donate to this ministry.