ALPHARETTA, Ga. — The North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) World Changers will mark 20 years of ministry in 2010. Since 1990, some 288,000 students and their adult leaders have participated in the missions initiative to repair and rehabilitate some of the poorer neighborhoods of America.
While 2010 will be a year to celebrate how God has used World Changers over the years, it also is a year when NAMB leadership will make improvements to position the program for the future.
World Changers is a pre-packaged mission experience managed by NAMB, enabling students to donate a week of their summer working in conjunction with cities, churches and community agencies to provide renovations at no charge to the low-income homeowners.
“We have made some decisions related to the schedule of the World Changers project week,” reported John W. Bailey, NAMB’s team leader for World Changers. “These changes are necessary to keep us in the position of being an effective partner with the SBC churches and entities we work with,” Bailey said. “We want to continue to be effective, while at the same time be more efficient.”
One of the major changes for 2010 is a city project schedule which will begin on Monday and end on Saturday, as opposed to the previous Saturday-to-Saturday format. While the new schedule does not include a night off or the host church’s Sunday services, Bailey said the change opens up new possibilities of ministry “to make sure that the local church connection is maintained.”
“One night of the project will be set aside for participants to interact with their host church,” Bailey said. “We will continue to partner with local churches in the project community to reach people for Christ. We are looking at some creative ways in which to do that.”
Some of the ideas under consideration for the community focus night are block parties, servant evangelism or other opportunities where World Changers participants could plug into local churches’ existing strategies.
Other than the new six-day schedule, Bailey said World Changers will continue to have the same look, feel and experience that participants have come to expect over the years. Construction will continue to be the main ministry tool at project sites, and nightly worship will remain one of the highlights for students and adults.
Bailey also noted that World Changers intends to nurture “a new level of calling students to prayer. We can’t wait to see what God will do as a result of thousands of students praying throughout the summer.”
World Changers renovated its 20,000th house in June in Savannah, Ga. Nearly 24,000 students and adults participated nationwide in the program during the summer, representing more than 1,200 Southern Baptist churches.
The World Changers theme for 2010 will be “Unhindered,” based on 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.
Registration for 2010 projects is now under way. World Changers is offering an incentive for groups to register and pay their initial deposits and first payments on time. For groups that meet those guidelines, there will be a $20 per person discount off the listed project price. Registration and other information can be obtained at www.world-changers.net or by calling (800) 462-8657 option 2.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Wilson is strategy development coordinator for the North American Mission Board’s student volunteer mobilization team.)