When Mars Hill College Chaplain Todd Boling asked sophomore Britney Acosta to be part of the summer InVision Ministry Team, he gave her an offer she couldn’t refuse.
“The way Todd presented it was, I would be living out of a van with four other people, traveling around, and singing,” Acosta said
That might sound like a nightmare for some, but for a college student like Britney, it was an exciting chance to put her faith into action.
“That just sounded like a really awesome experience,” she said.
Acosta is one of five members of the InVision Creative Ministries Team that traveled this summer throughout North Carolina and even made one lengthy trip into Canada. The team taught Bible study at summer camps and led churches in creative worship through drama, interpretive movement and music.
Boling began InVision last year, with help from Rick Trexler, campus ministry team leader for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
As a Kentucky campus minister years ago, Trexler guided similar mission teams during Boling’s student years.
“My experience serving on that team for two summers made a significant impact on me and what I understood my calling to be,” Boling said.
“When I accepted this position at Mars Hill College, Rick and I saw this as an opportunity to create a similar summer missions team here in North Carolina,” Boling said. “Our hope was that we would be able to offer the same life-changing experience we had in Kentucky for our students in North Carolina.”
InVision team members also did service projects for host churches, including leading worship in nursing homes, working at a summer camp for troubled youths, and even clearing brush.
Team member Andrew Blakely, a student at Appalachian State University (ASU) said he joined InVision because of his interest in using drama in ministry. But traveling and meeting new people also made the summer “amazing.”
“I had the opportunity to spend the summer on a great team of people while sharing the message of Jesus Christ through drama, music, and interpretive movement,” Blakely said.
“I was able to grow in my faith while using the talents God has given me. This summer was something I will never forget.”
According to Acosta, the most important thing about the summer was the effect the team had on young people.
“Time and time again, we would have a youth group leader come up to us at the end of the week and say, ‘Our youth have never been excited before about doing something like this,’” Acosta said.
Youth from several churches continued to instigate creative ministry programs after the team left. “It was really exciting to see the effect we had on the youth groups,” she said. “I think it really impacted them in a cool way.”
InVision team members for 2009 were: Britney Acosta, Mars Hill College; Andrew Blakely, Appalachian State University (ASU); Kristen Johnson, ASU; Amanda Mitchell, ASU and Michael Tyndal, Campbell University.
InVision is part of the Baptist Campus Ministries-funded summer missions efforts. College students across the state raise money — typically about $85,000 — to send selected students on high impact summer mission ministries.
Applications for the 2010 teams are due by Dec. 1. Interviews will be January 22-24 at Caraway Conference Center. Contact Trexler at [email protected].