Locals looking to change the world
Published 11:55 am Friday, July 31, 2015
Changing the world may seem like a lofty goal, but many people take on that challenge every summer.
World Changers mission projects are conducted in multiple areas during the summer and it is no secret that lives are changed through the process. World Changers is sponsored by LifeWay Student Ministries and began in the summer of 1990 in Briceville, Tennessee. That year, the event hosted 137 youth and adults at the World Changers pilot project.
The mission of World Changers is to “serve churches in their mission of making disciples by providing missions experiences that develop the heart of students for serving others and sharing the gospel so they can change the city…change the world.”
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World Changers seeks to repair the homes of underprivileged individuals who are not able to financially and sometimes physically fix them on their own. World Changers is not just about fixing homes, though. Each member who attends the event should come ready to share the gospel with those they come in contact with. The mission is to show the love of Christ by volunteering to work on these homes.
For many of those who have attended, going to World Changers becomes something that cannot only be done once; it is something that they begin to crave and desire to do again.
Lisa Townes is an avid World Changers attendee and to date has been a part of at least 18 different mission trips. She began her involvement with World Changers in the summer of 2002 and has been hooked ever since. She has travelled to Muncie, Indiana; Casper, Wyoming; Roanoke, Virginia; Chesapeake, Virginia; Charleston, West Virginia; Cherokee, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Wasilla, Alaska; Waianae, Hawaii and more.
Townes said that it has been the service and the people that have kept her going back every year.
“It’s in my blood, I think,” said Townes. “Once you go and you do it, you don’t want to come home. But then when you come home, you can prepare for the next time. It’s just a joy thing to me. It’s my happy thing that I do. I love mission work.”
The projects typically last one week and the groups participating are housed in a local school. Classrooms are prepared for the groups to stay in and meals are served every morning and night. Lunches are provided by local churches and are brought to the work sites. In order to promote the building of relationships, groups are split up and mixed with other churches to form the project teams. There can be two to three people from one church group on each team so members have a few familiar faces. At the end of the day, the original groups come together for a quiet time. Each night features a speaker and praise and worship music from a visiting band or artist.
For those who have never attended an event like this, Townes offers some advice. She knows that projects like these require manual labor, lack of sleep and a leap of faith. Townes has always believed that God puts the group together each year, and that each individual is there for a reason.
“Go expecting to be flexible,” she said. “Go expecting to be blessed because we think we’re going to bless someone, but we always get the blessing. Once you experience it, you’re hooked.”
This year, 15 participants came from Southside Baptist and Springhill Baptist Church to travel to Rockingham County, North Carolina. The theme for the project was “Reconciled” and featured the passage 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.
World Changers offers multiple different project areas each year and also offers three different types of projects: college-age, all-youth and senior high. College students are allowed to attend any World Changer event and may serve as a chaperone if they are over the age of 21. All-youth projects are open to youth who have completed the sixth grade or higher. Senior high projects are only open to youth who have completed the ninth grade or higher.
The Springhill and Southside groups will hold fundraising yard sales the first Saturday of every month starting this week. Donations are greatly appreciated. If interested in donating or attending the next World Changers project, contact Lisa Townes at firstname.lastname@example.org.