World Changers is gearing up for another year of serving those in need. The ministry will continue under the management of a group of church leaders and individuals, many of whom have volunteered with World Changers for a number of years.
“World Changers has a strong network of construction volunteers, youth ministers, churches and community agency representatives who’ve worked with us for years and want to see the ministry continue,” said David Flatt, associate pastor of adult education at First Baptist Church in Panama City, Fla., who played a key role in the continuation of the ministry.
World Changers provides students and adults with opportunities to meet physical and spiritual needs, through construction projects and community ministry. Volunteers donate a week of their summer working with cities, churches and community agencies to provide renovations at no charge to low-income homeowners.
Flatt said the 30-year-old mission of World Changers – to change the world of the participant – will continue to drive the organization. “That mission has stuck with me as I’ve taken student groups to World Changers projects for decades,” said Flatt, a longtime World Changers coordinator. “I could send you a list of students who can point back to a World Changers project and say that’s where God opened their eyes to their role in His mission.
“Of all the student ministry events our church has attended, World Changers had a more significant impact on students than anything else we did,” Flatt continued. “Our desire is to carry on that legacy and see the lives of students transformed as they put hands and feet to their faith.”
Jon Hodge, who has served with World Changers since 1995, will act as the ministry’s director and manage the day-to-day operations. “We know the ministry will be in good hands with Jon’s leadership,” Flatt said. “He’ll bring continuity as World Changers moves forward.”
Hodge said he was thankful for all the effort put into making sure the ministry of World Changers continues. “We are so thankful for the support of the LifeWay Student Ministry team as they walked us through this transition,” Hodge said.
World Changers began in 1990 as a missions program of the former Southern Baptist Convention Brotherhood Commission. It came under the umbrella of the North American Mission Board in 1997 and then LifeWay in 2012.
LifeWay made the decision in April to cancel World Changers mission projects for summer 2020 because of COVID-19 and close all future operations due to declining numbers and the inability to host projects this summer.
“I am encouraged by the new leadership of World Changers and their heart for the ministry,” said Ben Trueblood, director of Student Ministry at LifeWay. “I look forward to seeing World Changers continue serving communities and impacting lives with the gospel.”
World Changers will host projects in about 20 cities next summer, including Birmingham and Oxford, Ala.; Fort Smith, Little Rock and Pine Bluff, Ark.; Ocala and Panama City, Fla.; Henderson and Radcliff, Ky.; Lake Charles, La.; Jersey Shore, N.J.; Gallup, N.M.; Cleveland, Ohio; Houston, Texas; and Huntington, W.Va.
“As much as we are excited about the past 30 years of ministry, we are even more excited about what the future holds,” Hodge said. “We want to invite youth groups to join us next summer in our mission of reaching people for Christ through the tool of construction and community ministry.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Carol Pipes is director of Corporate Communications for LifeWay Christian Resources.)