Sunday is the official start of the 3rd annual Sulphur Springs Workcamp. SSWC is an interdenominational, in-town mission experience in the city of Sulphur Springs. Students from all different local youth groups will come together and work together to help make the city we live in a better place. Basically we paint and restore houses for free for those in major need.
The theme for SSWC is “EAT. SLEEP. SERVE.” That is the theme because that is exactly what we do. We eat. We sleep. And we serve people.
This year, we have incredible people that will lead us to the throne of God. Brandon Mitchell will be speaking every night in his very unique, real, raw, Brandon-way. Jon Webb will be leading worship. Brandon and Jon have been a part of the SSWC family all three years. This year, SSWC is extremely excited to have the dynamic, pee-your-pants-hilarious, talented comedic duo – The Skit Guys – with us this year.
God really put the idea for my SSWC in my brain about four years ago (a good friend likes to say that God impregnated me with SSWC). I was hesitant at first to put another big project on my plate (especially in the always busy summer season). However, God kept putting this idea of an interdenominational local mission experience before me. I procrastinated for one year before deciding to give it a shot in the summer of 2007. What ever small expectations I had for SSWC were blown away by God’s ability to do more than my tiny brain can even imagine. Anywhere from 90-100 people participated in SSWC as we painted and restored nine homes in Sulphur Springs.
Last year, 140+ people from five different local youth groups painted and restored twelve homes in the Sulphur Springs area. We helped multiple widows, elderly, and those severely sick.
This year, 180+ people from eight different local youth groups will be painting and restoring fifteen homes in the Sulphur Springs area.We will be helping many families and individuals including multiple widows, elderly, severely sick, three people confined to wheel chairs, two on oxygen, and one World War 2 veteran.
Every year people ask me why. Why do feel God wanted you to start SSWC? There are four main reasons why.
1. IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. God is pretty specific about sharing your faith and helping other people. It is the right thing to take care of a widow who cannot take care of things like painting her house herself. Mission trips (in the youth ministry world) are often only thought in the context of far away from home or in another culture. While I am all for global, short term missions, being able to spread the Gospel and the love of Jesus in our backyards is equally important.
2. TO BE A BLESSING TO OTHER YOUTH MINISTERS. As a youth minister, I know how tough summer can be and how hard it can be to plan a bunch of stuff. The best trips seem to be the trips where I simply show up, all the details are already taken care, and I can spend time and love on my students. I try to make SSWC as youth ministry-friendly as possible. My desire has always been for SSWC to be something that is a blessing to other youth ministers, not a burden.
3. TO HELP SMALL YOUTH MINISTRIES. The majority of churches in our area do not have the resources, budget, and staff to participate in summer missions. SSWC was designed for the small church that maybe is being led by a volunteer. This is a local, cost-efficient (only $50 for students) mission experience that is legit. Now every student can have the opportunity to participate in missions.
4. TO UNITE THE LOCAL CHURCH. (WARNING: I will probably preach right here.) If we were honest, we (Christians) do not do a very good job of uniting. We tend to focus more on all the things that make us different – worship styles, songs we sing, vocabulary, etc. SSWC focuses on what we have in common – JESUS, which is by far the most important thing. Sure, the denominations represented think differently about certain aspects of the Christian faith. However, we all believe in the fundamental truth that Jesus is our savior. Maybe people seeing different Christians getting along and serving together in unity will get nonbelievers interested in having a relationship with Jesus. Crazy thought, huh?
Sulphur Springs Workcamp will be from THIS Sunday, June 7 to Wednesday, June 10. Please be praying for this incredible mission experience. If you want to be a part of this incredible event, let me know. We could use you in some way, shape, or form. I hope to post a daily update every night of SSWC, complete with pictures and highlights from the day.