World Changers celebrates 20 years
    May 11 2010 by Mickey Noah, NAMB Communications

    SPRINGBORO, Ohio (BP) — Two years after sliding off a hot roof in Knoxville, Tenn. — severely breaking his left ankle — World Changers adult volunteer Ted Smith is at it again, leading Ohio high school and college students on an upcoming World Changers project in Cherokee. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

    “Although it happened back in 2008 and my ankle’s still only 80 percent healed, I’ll never let it deter me from getting back on a roof and being at World Changers,” said the 49-year-old Smith, a regional sales manager for a manufacturer.

    World Changers is an intense, hands-on missions experience for students sponsored and managed by the North American Mission Board (NAMB).

    NAMB photo by Susan Whitley

    Eighth-grader Cece George of Alpharetta, Ga., paints a window ledge in Charleston, S.C. She was one of 309 World Changers who took part in a Charleston outreach last summer.

    Smith traveled to Cherokee in late April to meet with local project and construction coordinators in preparation for July 12-17 when he and nine other adult volunteers will bring 18-20 student volunteers from Springboro Baptist Church, to Cherokee, a west North Carolina mountain town some 400 miles away. The Springboro students will paint, repair roofs and build disability ramps for the less fortunate — at no cost to the homeowners.

    Smith, in his ninth consecutive year as a World Changers leader, has his reasons for devoting a week each summer to the outreach.

    “A lot of our kids are relatively affluent by world standards,” Smith says. “We want the kids to understand that it is God’s will for them to be on the trip, and that service to other people and giving back is a good thing. And although they will bring a lot of blessings to needy people, in the process a lot of the kids will wind up getting more blessed than the people they serve.”

    Smith recommends World Changers for other adults who want to share God’s love in a practical way.

    “You’re stepping out of your comfort zone, realizing that life is about more than yourself and showing people that God really does care for them,” Smith said.  

    Anniversary year
    World Changers will mark a number of key milestones this summer, not the least of which is its 20th anniversary. World Changers launched its first fledgling community project in Briceville, Tenn., near Knoxville, back in 1990.

    Between June 7 and July 31, the 2010 edition of World Changers also will celebrate its 300,000th student participant, its 10,000th church youth group, the 100th summer project in Alabama and Georgia, the 400th house to be renovated in Casper, Wyo., and some $2 million raised through small contributions by the thousands of students who have participated in World Changers over the last 20 years.

    That $2 million has gone solely to fund even more NAMB ministries across North America, said Jonathan Wilson, NAMB’s strategy development coordinator for World Changers and its companion ministry, PowerPlant.

    “We want this summer to be one big celebration — for the 20th anniversary as well as to celebrate the thousands of Southern Baptist churches that have partnered with us over the years by sending their students to join us,” Wilson said. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”

    This summer, World Changers will mobilize 21,000 student and adult volunteers to work in 85 cities on 97 projects across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Students from middle school to college-age will pay $249 each to serve on a team that will repair and renovate inner-city homes. Despite sweltering summer heat, students will paint houses, repair or replace roofs, do minor carpentry and yard work.

    The $249 fee covers a week’s food, lodging, local transportation and materials. Participants provide their own transportation to and from the project.

    “Our Baptist churches have responded in a tremendous way to the changes,” Wilson added. “They understand we’re trying to be good stewards of our resources. Our team at NAMB works hard at providing the best missions experience we can at the best value.”

    The World Changers web site — — is the best source for information on the ministry and this summer’s 97 projects, Wilson said.  

    Families on Mission
    NAMB also offers the summer group opportunity “Families on Mission,” now in its fifth year. FOM is a five-day mission opportunity for families — mom and dad, kids and even grandparents. It provides families with a hands-on experience of mission projects including prayerwalking, light construction, painting, yard work, Vacation Bible School, sports camps, block parties, acts of kindness and other evangelistic initiatives.

    Some 800 family members are expected to participate in one of seven FOM mission trips, including Bryson City June 27-July 1.

    For more information on Families on Mission, access or call (800) 462-8657, ext. 6456.

    The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina offers a similar family on mission opportunity through N.C. Baptist Men and Embrace.

    This year’s event is June 10-13 in Minneapolis, N.C., operating out of the Candlestick Retreat Center. Call Mike Sowers at (919) 459-5626 for more information.

    (EDITOR’S NOTE — Noah is a writer for the North American Mission Board.) 
    5/11/2010 6:45:00 AM by Mickey Noah, NAMB Communications | with 0 comments

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