Recapping our Service Project Weekend Post III

Saturday morning we served at the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission in center city Philadelphia with Evan’s students at Great Valley Pres.  (Back in August, Evan and a several students from his church joined us on our trip to New Orleans).

At this mission, some students helped cook the good, distribute to the homeless, while others were cleaning up the foot pantry room, organizing shelves and still while others were loading their truck with the stuff that they needed to clear out.   Not a lot to say aside from it was a good experiencing reminding us of several important matters.  

Recapping our Service Project Weekend Post II

This year we went wanted to go to Philly for a number of reasons.  But before we set out to the place allegedly referred to “The City of Brotherly Love”, we did a worship service at the Good Shepherd Mission in Paterson, NJ we on Friday night.  Our new Jr. High Youth Pastor, also named Tim (we have heard all the jokes) led worship, a student gave a reading and one of our shy freshmen girls summoned the courage to share what the Lord was doing in her life.  I preached a sermon on unity that was an extension out of what we’ve been speaking about in youth group.  Our unity must flow within us as a youth group and beyond us throughout the Body and outside the Body.  Following our time of worship we spent a couple hours afterwards hanging out with the men there listening to their stories and enjoing each other’s presence.  


Recapping our Service Project Weekend Post I

Sr. High Service Project Weekend was a good thing. I hesitate to use phrases like “great success” because of what that sort of language implies to me but it went very well. I really believe in the purpose of this weekend and look forward to doing more. Prior to my arrival at this church, each quarter the youth group went to some kind of camp which is fine and all but it seemed a little overplayed to me. Add that we have been trying to do service projects for the longest time but getting students to commit to the calendar was a difficult thing especially since we have weak culture of service. So as we have been trying to create a missional culture, we’ve also combined the idea of getting out of the area and doing service projects.

Last year we did various things in the New York City area like cleaned off the shelves at a soup kitchen in Harlem, helped with a children’s Halloween alternate activity at a church in Queens (while promoting the church’s health clinic!), put on a worship service at a Jewish nursing home (we told them we were Christians) and the Good Shepherd Home in Paterson.  This year we changed it up a bit.  So, here are some posts and thoughts.

Post-NOLA Trip thoughts 1 – Why New Orleans?

We’ve just returned from our trip to New Orleans and the Desperation Student Conference.  Really grateful for so many aspects of this trip.  Here is some of how and why we got there (and here).

I thought twice about planning a mission trip to New Orleans.  In fact, I thought twice about having another student mission trip. Though they have their flaws, I really do see the value of these trips and believe them to be worth having.  Will probably share more about that as time goes on.


One of my hopes in our student ministry is to have a Christ and others-centered, mission approach where we go and serve local and further out domestically and internationally.  This past year, among the best things we’ve done was skipping our traditional fall retreat. Instead, we went out and did local mission projects in Paterson, NJ, Harlem and Queens, NY.  Frankly, we need to find ways to do more of these types of things as a student ministry and as families and believers.  We’re taking steps.

Anyway, it’s a long story but New Orleans became the place.  I couldn’t really avoid it, these opportunities kept coming up, the need is great, turn on tv and from PBS to even the Edge having a charity devoted to saving the music, it was everywhere so it got my attention.

As I was praying about it, the idea of not going because it was too cliché seemed more superficial and compelled by the need of New Orleans (and much of the Gulf region), I found myself planning a mission trip. Time went on and I got excited about the opportunity. In college, I connected with classic jazz and some friends turned me to Harry Connick Jr. – a son of New Orleans. Dealing with the aftermath of Katrina, the rebuilding, the non-rebuilding, the corruption, the hurt, the politics, the culture of New Orleans, Cajun, its symbolic presence in the South, and then there was us. I am not handy. Most of my students aren’t either. This was going to be tough – for all of us. As you could see, things were falling into place in terms of a mission trip. I was getting excited to do something that we weren’t that good at. Something that would make us uncomfortable as that would force us to keep focused. As many know, it’s when we are uncomfortable and not in control that we hear God’s voice. I doubt it’s because He is speaking any louder but more that we are listening so much more intently. Next thing I knew, friend, fellow seminarian and blogger, Evan was bringing some students as well. God truly seemed in the midst of this. For if it was me, we’d be in Vegas. Hmmm, that’s a great idea for next year.