We are part of a movement…a movement of young adults reaching out to our peers with the love and light of Christ. We know that most people in their 20s and 30s aren’t a part of a church, don’t think of Christians as loving or serving their communities, and worse don’t see Jesus as their savoir. We know that our peers think that the church has nothing to offer them, and we want to change that. We know that no top down institutional program is going to change the heart of a young adult like a community of believers living out the love of Christ in their daily interactions through a life of service…and we are ready to be that people.
A group of young adults planned the LEAD Servant Event with young adults in mind. We wanted to give our peers an opportunity to serve and experience practical training that would empower them for servant leadership in their home communities. God truly blessed this effort! May 31-June 5, 2009 we spent a week in New Orleans filled with personal discovery, hands on service, leadership development, and spiritual growth. The young adults that came were servants who had a desire and heart to reach out with the love of Christ. Camp Restore (http://www.camprestore.org/) provided us with meaningful work projects, food and lodging, and LINC New Orleans (http://www.lincneworleans.org/) led us in a powerful leadership training. We grew close to each other, encouraged by the power of serving with others who are a part of our young adult culture, and were encouraged by each other’s faith. We want to share that with you. Here are responses to LEAD from those that were a part of it….
Kim Acton from Florissant, MO writes:
LEAD was the title for the servant event, although as the week progressed the eleven participants decided that “mud” may have been a better theme. From the deep, thick mud we crawled in while helping to restore Louisiana’s wetlands, to the store-bought “mud” we carefully applied to the crevices in the wall we were preparing for painting, it seemed that everyday we were encountering some sort of “mud.” But before going into further detail, let me back up now and start from the beginning:
Yes, the hurricane occurred four years ago and many areas of New Orleans have been rebuilt. Many areas have not. At the home we worked at one day, both neighboring homes had not been rebuilt. One was completely overgrown with weeds, and the other had a large hole carved in the roof where the owners had been forced to evacuate.
Although “mud” may have been an appropriate theme for the servant event, LEAD also proved itself to be an appropriate title. Through hands-on service, as well as through leadership development led by LINC New Orleans, each of us were able to discover how we are all leaders in our own right – whether you are an “up front” leader or a “behind the scenes” leader. As you read this article now I encourage you to ask yourself what sort of “leader” you are.
Irene McFadden from Exton, PA writes:
One powerful memory I carry with me from the Young Adult Servant Event in NOLA is Walter, a work director, giving our team instructions for the day. His final instruction is that we make our top priority the people, allowing them to tell their story, as well as seeking to share our faith story with them, when possible. Walter said that if this is all we accomplish in a day it will be a successful day! I pray that this will be the first of many Young Adult Servant Events.
Ryan Peterson from Ellisville, IL writes:
“You never know what will happen when strangers from around the country gather in one place for one week with one central mission: to serve Jesus through serving others. So what happened? Strengthened relationships, increased compassion, deepened faith, greater unity in the body of Christ, and newly empowered young adults. Oh yeah, and there was a lot of laughing, fun, Frosty’s from Wendy’s, and good food. God brought unity in the way that only God can do. I never like to leave my wife and son for six full days, but I’m so grateful to God for what He did and taught us during this week.
I learned a lot about myself; how God has uniquely created and wired me to serve Him.
Sean Pica from Temple City, CA writes:
I am so glad to have been part of LEAD, the first ever servant event sponsored by LCMS Young Adult Ministry. The biggest thing that LEAD accomplished was the sense that young adults can make a difference in the mission and leadership of the church. The harvest is great, and young adult ministry is one of the vast mission fields that we face. As we look toward reaching that mission field, it is exciting to see how young adults in the church can be involved in reaching young adults outside the church. I look forward to seeing the future of young adult and college ministry, as God works through <us> to reach a generation for Christ.
Angela Brinker from St Louis, MO writes:
This trip was not the usual vacation. In giving up what vacation days I’ve earned so far this year I thought I would be helping people whose lives were devastated by hurricane Katrina as well as having a chance to hang out with old friends and make new ones. The trip was all that, but it was also so much more. Our hands-on work was important but I think that maybe the most impactful thing we did was listen. We did a lot of listening. We listened to the stories of the people of New Orleans, and almost everyone we met who experienced Hurricane Katrina and her aftermath had one to tell. We also listened to each other, making new friends and supporting each other as we went through the week. We listened to ourselves as we went through the leadership training. Most importantly we listened to God, in Bible studies throughout the week and in all that we did seeing and hearing his voice in our work and voices. What the impact of this listening was and will be is hard to say but it could lead to more than we even imagine when we tell people what we’ve seen and heard. New Orleans will never be the same as it was before Katrina, and I don’t think I am the same after LEAD either.
We want to start a movement within the LCMS of young adults ready, willing and able to be servant leaders…of young adults who point our friends, communities and our world to the love of Christ in relatable, relevant, real ways.
This movement is being started by young adults who care too much to sit back and do little. Join us.