One of the projects supported by the Champion Grant was this past summer’s Soul in the City, hosted by Grace Anglican Church in Fleming Island, Florida. Middle and high school students spent a week living in community together so that they can deepen their relationship with Jesus and focus on the needs of others. The week included full days of service, worship, teaching, and time for students to build new or deeper friendships. Students and their leaders served at not-for-profit worksites in two different counties completing projects ranging from yard clean-up to building relationships with children in the community. While the structure of the week is very similar to an overseas mission trip, Soul in the City is designed to support ministry and outreach locally. This helps young people realize that they are invited to live life on mission, even and especially where they live.

Soul in the City 2022 had representation from fourteen churches across six denominations. 61 students were registered, and many students shared about the impact the week had on deepening their relationship with Jesus. Jack McNeil, the Director of Youth and Families at Grace Anglican, shared that “students shared  powerful spiritual breakthroughs regarding healing and forgiveness (particularly from broken homes), and recommitments of faith.”

During a week of serving others and participating in the work that God is doing in a particular community, students are often able to experience the love of God personally in a powerful way.

Being surrounded by a Christian community was particularly powerful for the young people who participated in Soul in the City. Jack told us about an exchange student from Britain who experienced being around other  Christian teenagers for the first time during this trip. “By the end of the week, he was very emotional saying goodbye to the young men he built friendships with over the week. He was so thankful for Christian fellowship. He expressed being reinvigorated spiritually, and ready to share his faith back at home with greater  boldness.”

The Champion Grant helped offer scholarships to six students, which made the trip accessible to more families. If you are hoping to help young people engage in the mission of God, but need financial support for your ministry ideas, the Champion Grant exists to support trips just like this one.

Anna Burden

Anna Burden

Coordinator for Student Leadership Network

Anna Burden grew up in the church and has felt called to student ministry since she was in seventh grade. She studied Youth Ministry at Eastern University and has experience working with churches and student ministries of various sizes. Anna and her husband, Colin, now live in Quincy, MA with their two cats. She works for the Anglican Diocese in New England as their Family Ministry Assistant. Anna is passionate about helping young people discover their identity
in Christ, their belonging in the family of God, and their gifts for Kingdom purposes.

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