“How different can Mexico really be,” I asked myself just before leaving the church parking lot for my first youth group international trip. In my high school, America-centric mind Mexico was almost an extension of Texas. As I sat in a 12-passenger van about to cross the border I realized how wrong I was. I will never forget the confusion I felt when I looked to my left and saw beautiful “American-dream” homes. Then I looked to my right and was shocked to see homes made from a tarp hanging cement blocks. God used that moment to awaken something in me – something I wasn’t even fully aware of yet.
Our youth group was headed to Juarez Mexico to build a house for a family in need and to show the love and compassion of Christ. There was great poverty there. dns test A home made of a tarp and block was not the worst I would see.
As a teen I believed that real service and being a “missionary” required someone more mature in their faith. But throughout the week the Lord opened my eyes that he wanted use ME to help meet the needs of people in my own country and around the globe. Both physical needs like new homes and more food, but also spiritual needs.
“If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:15-17)
This understanding came because I was given the opportunity to experience it. The encouragement to step out of my comfortable context came from three people. My mom, who actually came on the trip, guided me in Colossians 3. She provided an example of what it looked like to clothe myself in compassion and kindness towards others. My dad, whom I greatly trust, gave me the confidence to go to a new and uncharted place. And no matter how cliché this may sound: I wouldn’t be the person I am today if my youth minister hadn’t given me the chance to serve in a context that wasn’t my own.
My faith became active because my mom, dad and youth minister encouraged me. And gave me room to grow. Parents and youth ministers, you may never fully know the seeds planted through the opportunities you give. So give them in abundance! Teach students to serve and allow them the chance to do it. Show them how to put their faith into action – abroad and next door.
-Lesley Blanton, event coordinator for Student Life
Through the years, The Lord has led Servant Life to a list of four Core Values that shape all the work we do. They are: Gospel-centered ministry, long-term strategies, one-on-one relationships, and a focus on youth and children. Every missionary in our global network is prayerfully and specifically selected by the type of ministry they are doing. We are highlighting each of these Core Values in a four part series. The first is “Gospel-Centered Ministry”.
Now this one may seem like a given, but unfortunately “Gospel-centered” is not a characteristic of all Christian organizations. When we say, “Gospel-centered,” here is what we mean.
First, a Gospel-centered ministry exists to meet spiritual needs. As great as the physical need is around the globe, there is even greater spiritual need in the heart of every man. Servant Life works in many areas to meet physical needs, but first and foremost we desire to see souls saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. This same focus is consistent throughout Christ’s earthly ministry. In Mark 2, Jesus heals a paralytic but He does not overlook his sins; He forgives them. In 1 Samuel 16:7 we see that man’s tendency is to look at outward appearances, but The Lord looks at the heart. Servant Life strives to have that same focus. We believe that, as Christ-followers, we are called to more than humanitarian aid. The Gospel is the only thing that will truly save.
Secondly, a Gospel-centered ministry has a commitment to Scripture. We are not in the business of broadcasting their thoughts or opinions. Each missionary in our network of partners has been sent as an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ. They have been sent to preach and teach the Word of God. We trust that where the Word is, there is power. Isaiah 40:8 tells us that, “the grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” A Gospel-centered ministry is committed to the Word, because eternal impact is what they are after.
Lastly, a Gospel-centered ministry has a desire to create opportunities for people to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Lord has sovereignly chosen to use man as the primary means in which the Gospel is spread to the nations. Matthew 28:18-20 clearly commands us to go and to teach. This call is for every disciple of Jesus Christ, no matter how old or young they are. Servant Life believes that teenagers and college students have a unique and important role in the advancement of the Kingdom.
We, at Servant Life, routinely evaluate our processes and partnerships based on these values. We are daily being refined into all that God has called us to be.
Only the Good News of Jesus ultimately has the power to save people from their sins and lead them to a life of hope and freedom.
Therefore, we center our ministry around the Gospel. Praise The Lord that He allows us to be a part of bringing this Good News to the nations! accommodation sbsavings