Developing a Heart for Service
By Tim Poppen
What’s a place you might go to minister to marginalized individuals? Lincoln, Nebraska, is probably not the first thing that comes to mind.
But located in the heart of Lincoln is a program that’s developing young people to have a heart for service. That program is called Immerse.
Immerse was developed by the Kingdom Enterprise Zone (KEZ) of Southeast Nebraska and is a partnership between the RCA and the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRC). It provides high school youth groups with a six-day ministry experience. Students are challenged to wrestle with real-life scenarios related to sin, poverty, and brokenness with the purpose of returning them to their homes with a heart to engage in their own communities.
Experiences range from doing sports ministry in a neighborhood park to working with an organization that provides resources to the working-class poor. Students get the chance to hear life stories from the people they serve.
But it’s not just a service project. Participants are immersed in Scripture, community engagement, meaningful relationships, and hands-on mission. Even though this project is in its infancy, two returning students have already applied for KEZ internships in order to continue to assist Immerse, and two current interns have decided to stay on and serve with the F Street Church in downtown Lincoln, one of the program’s ministry sites.
Immerse is expanding the worldview of these young people, encouraging them to become leaders in their own circles, and helping them live in the fullness of their faith.
Find out more about Immerse at www.immerselincoln.org.
Tim Poppen is a member of Sunnybrook Community Church (RCA) in Sioux City, Iowa, and video producer for the Synod of the Heartland.