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A promotional video to display the work of the USAFA Club Beyond teens when they fed over 400 people in Colorado Springs.

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Here are just a few of the pictures from our service project. It was such a great experience!




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[VLog] Serving God

Jeremy Smith —  November 11, 2011 — 1 Comment

We wrap up this week’s series on service projects by sharing why I began this idea with my students and how I have experienced serving God in my own life.

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All of my students live a comfortable life, so serving the homeless in our area means that they need to understand the ideology of homeless people. People do not become homeless because they want to be, nor do they stay homeless because they do not try. At the same time, many homeless people are both prideful and hopeless. Knowing all of this lets the students know who they are serving with God’s compassionate heart.

  • Becoming and Remaining Homeless
    People do not try to become homeless. It results from a nearly countless number of reasons: mental illness, job losses, bank repo, and drugs. At the same time, priorities of having a properly running car to get to any jobs, health insurance for the whole family, and getting food on the table as well as any kind of criminal convictions or the costs of child care can hinder job interviews and keep people homeless. It is hard to pay all of the bills and even harder to get out of homelessness.
  • Prideful And Hopeless
    People do not want to be known as homeless, but as people who are just in a spurt of bad luck or weeks before getting into stable housing again. When we advertise this event on Saturday, we will not be going to them and saying we are having a Feed the Homeless service project. They do not want to be seen as a charity case, but as humans helping humans. Instead, we are advertising a picnic that they are invited to attend with Thanksgiving fixings. We need to support them, even from a verbal standpoint.
  • Serving With God’s Compassionate Heart
    We ended up spending an entire lesson going over this whole ideology of homeless people in our small group. Half way through the lesson, a student said that they hated to admit it, but they saw homeless people as lesser people. What honesty… I brought it back at them asking how many times people have looked down on them. We need to understand that they are children of God in a tough spot in life. If we can approach them not as lesser, but as hurting, we can serve with a compassionate heart and serve them fully.
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I find it to be a lie when we build up this great idea for teenagers to do something in ministry and not struggle through some of the decisions and failures of ministries. If ministry was all rose petals smiles, everyone would want to serve the Church. I get them to reach for the stars, going beyond themselves and trusting in God’s providence and power. Even when I know that a decision will not work, I allowed them to make mistakes. Yet with every mistake, we can learn from it and press on in our journey of serving God’s people.

  • Going Beyond Themselves
    What I did not want for this service project was for me to do all (or really any) of the work, this was theirs to own. When I said that, I feared that they would then want to do something small and easy because they would have to do everything. I was wonderfully wrong. Of course, in this process of creating the service project, we shot down some great ideas that were just not feasible financially. Yet, the service project we will be putting on this Sunday is no small task and they know that. We are hoping to feed 400 people with 30 fully cooked turkeys, side dishes, drinks and dessert a plenty, not a small task.
  • Making Mistakes
    Older generations would say that this young generation of teens and 20-somethings have had it easy and do not know what it means to have without. So one of the goals for letting the students do this is that they experience a bit of failure when it comes. While I have let them experience some failures, I ensured that no failure would break their spirits or cause the event to fail. But the hope is that they see that there is work behind all of this.
  • Learning From Our Mistakes
    Failures can be a huge setback when one is trying something new. But if that single failure is overcome and the whole project is a success, it can be the single motivator to make a career out of it. The rewards of seeing the joy, peace, and love from those we will serve this weekend is life-changing. I myself am a product of owning my faith in college with a service project that surged me into ministry and I credit great leaders in my life that supported me all along the way. That is what I hope to do for these students.
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My students know their answers to our Bible questions. We cannot simply throw out “What does it mean to be salt and light?” because they can give you a great answer in 30 seconds. Making disciples of Jesus means starting with knowing Jesus and then moving into being Jesus to others. In so doing, we can experience the joy, hope, and peace of sharing God’s love and promise to others who do not know Him through many different mediums. Experiencing God will hopefully create a circular effect of further knowing Him and wanting to do more for His kingdom.

  • Moving Into Being Jesus To Others
    It is one thing to know who Jesus is for yourself and resting in that. But for many of us that minister to others know that we can go deeper into that love of Christ by serving and loving on others. In essence, we put on the skin of Jesus and care for them. This means that one needs to be willing to give up the needs of one’s self to meet the needs of others. So when I asked my students to organize and run this service project, I quickly let them know what this meant for them. If we serve, we must give their whole heart to the event and show them the love of Christ.
  • Experience God Through Service
    As we serve others, we begin to experience a deep love from our Heavenly Father. In fact, Jesus illustrated God’s heart in one of His parables saying, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40) These teens, serving those in their community, can have a deeper experience of actually serving God through this project. This service done with the heart of God will inspire a deeper faith.
  • Doing Leads to Knowing More
    In saying that serving with the heart of God will inspire a deeper faith, we become inspired to know more about God. Empowering teens to go beyond knowing Jesus and experiencing Him through service creates an amazing circular effect. Knowing God can lead to being Jesus to others. Being Jesus to others inspires one to want to know more about Him, and the process continues. Youth workers around the world, not only should you push to know Him, but to act on that.
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The first quarter of this year’s curriculum, we challenged our teenagers to understand what their faith is, where they place their identity in, and to become a leader in the youth group and own their faith. Four weeks ago, I challenged those who came to our small group to do some kind of a service project that they would be 100% responsible. I had three goals for these few teens who decided to step up in the small group and take lead on this service project. We will go deeper into each of these this week, but here are the basics of those three goals:

  • Going Beyond Knowing Jesus
    My students know their answers to our Bible questions. We cannot simply throw out “What does it mean to be salt and light?” because they can give you a great answer in 30 seconds. Making disciples of Jesus means starting with knowing Jesus and then moving into being Jesus to others. In so doing, we can experience the joy, hope, and peace of sharing God’s love and promise to others who do not know Him through many different mediums. Experiencing God will hopefully create a circular effect of further knowing Him and wanting to do more for His kingdom.
  • Failure Is An Option
    I find it to be a lie when we build up this great idea for teenagers to do something in ministry and not struggle through some of the decisions and failures of ministries. If ministry was all rose petals smiles, everyone would want to serve the Church. I get them to reach for the stars, going beyond themselves and trusting in God’s providence and power. Even when I know that a decision will not work, I allowed them to make mistakes. Yet with every mistake, we can learn from it and press on in our journey of serving God’s people.
  • Understand The Homeless Ideology
    All of my students live a comfortable life, so serving the homeless in our area means that they need to understand the ideology of homeless people. People do not become homeless because they want to be, nor do they stay homeless because they do not try. At the same time, many homeless people are both prideful and hopeless. Knowing all of this lets the students know who they are serving with God’s compassionate heart.
Continue Reading...