Outreach creates space for students to see Jesus work in them and through them one person at a time.
During the month of July, students from Southeast Christian Church’s Blankenbaker High School Ministry traveled to Jefferson Manor, Maplewood Apartments and Hope Place each week to share the love of Christ as part of an outreach called Kingdom Worker Wednesdays.
HSM Groups & Missions Pastor Trent Hensley said each of us is called to take the name of Jesus to the ends of the earth.
“One of our desires in HSM is to see our high school students engage God’s heart for the world,” Hensley said. “It’s not enough just to learn about Jesus or even enjoy His teaching. We want to give our students opportunities to show Christ’s love by engaging different people groups and locations in our city.”
It’s not the norm for high school students to spend summer break serving others.
“It’s important because it’s what God calls us to do,” said incoming senior Tori Stier. “HSM has given us a really good opportunity to serve, and I think we shouldn’t miss that.”
Students went to Jefferson Manor nursing home to talk and connect with senior adults through activities and a shared lunch.
“The first week I was pretty nervous going into it because we were essentially supposed to knock on random doors and just ask if they wanted to visit,” Stier said. “There was this one particular lady, Jan. We just hit it off. She loved talking to us. She told us all about her life and we talked to her for an hour and a half.”
Stier has served at Kingdom Worker Wednesdays the last three summers.
“I actually planned on going to Maplewood Apartments with the little kids because that’s just what I had done previously,” she said. “But I decided to go out of my comfort zone and go to the nursing home.”
Students went to Maplewood Apartments to play sports, make crafts and eat lunch with children who live in the apartments. They shared stories from the Bible and allowed the kids to ask questions about Christianity.
Along the way, they met a teenager named Deshaun.
“Deshaun came every single week and kind of changed over the weeks, asking more questions and understanding the stories he was being told,” said incoming senior Adrianna Wilson.
This was Wilson’s third summer participating in Kingdom Worker Wednesdays.
“I just really love the kids and building relationships with them because you can see how happy they get whenever we come back,” Wilson said. “I’d rather hang out with people I don’t know than see the same people at church every Sunday.”
Other students went to Hope Place, an outreach center that hosts summer programs for 60 to 70 school-age youth.
“At first, because they had new teenagers they didn’t know coming in, they were slow to open up to us,” said incoming junior Luke Bowman. “But every week we came back, they’d recognize our face and say like, ‘Hey, you’re Luke. How was your week?’ And it’s easier to talk to them.”
Bowman ran recreational activities during recess, such as capture-the-flag or steal the bacon.
“I personally saw it as a good opportunity to do something in the community,” he said.