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

World Changers celebrates 20 years

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


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 www.namb.net/fom

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.


is a writer for the North American Mission Board.)