By Jaime Handley
We all talk about the importance of getting our students “out there” serving in the community, whether locally or globally. Some of us even get the chance to brag on our students as we see their hearts of service at work in places near—like a local homeless shelter—or far, on overseas missions trips. But other than the bragging rights, why does it even matter? And what will our students gain from the experience of serving?
We want our students to experience a world-changing encounter with the bigger picture of God’s kingdom. And, at the same time, we want them to understand how they fit into that picture. So, what if we could take the idea of the “mission trip” and make it more of a “mission lifestyle”? What if we could provide opportunities for our students to impact the lives of other people in their own community? What better way to let them experience the grand story of God’s kingdom in the details of their own everyday life? Whether it’s serving meals to folks who are struggling through homelessness, volunteering at a local retirement home or serving families through free babysitting, opportunities to serve are abundant and will give students the chance to see beyond themselves and into the needs of their community.
XP3 has created something with this mission lifestyle in mind. Our Student Service section (which can be found under the “Training” tab on your dashboard after logging in to your account) helps you think through what it takes to get your students involved in serving, whether in the church body, the local community or through global outreach. Our Student Service section includes an Adult Volunteer Event to get the members of your church on board with plugging students in with the volunteer community as well as a Parent Cue to encourage your parents to support their students in their service endeavors. We have also included articles to help you think through how to bring together your student group and church leadership around this idea of service, because cohesiveness in this area is imperative.
At Orange, one of the key principles of our strategy is Influence, simply meaning we work at creating consistent opportunities to experience personal ministry. Many of the XPs that are available with each XP3 Students series give students an opportunity to be involved in reaching out and helping those in need—whether it’s in their own community or halfway around the world. Many of these XPs encourage students to get thinking about how they can impact others with the decisions they make with their time, money, talents and other resources. Some of these highlighted XPs can be found in the following series: The Invisibles, The Never Ending Story, Tis the Season, Unlikely, Upside Down and We.
So, whether you’re gearing up for a summer mission trip or simply trying to get your student group to start thinking outside of the four walls of “church,” take a peek at some of these resources. We want to help you help your students begin to live mission-minded every day. Because being the hands and feet of Jesus is an opportunity to reach out to others, but it’s also an opportunity to deepen our own trust and love for the One we ultimately seek to serve.