Witness Moment

Supporting Ministries through Hands-On Service

LCMS Servant Event gets Camp Trinity in New Haven, Mo., ready for summer.

On a cloudy Saturday in early March, Camp Trinity in New Haven, Mo., got a head start on its spring cleaning by hosting an LCMS Servant Event.

Some 46 youth volunteers from the area came to help clean up Camp Trinity inside and out. To spruce up the cabins, volunteers mopped floors and wiped down bunk beds, clearing away last summer’s debris and winter’s dust. They also removed leaves, cleaned flower beds, and split and stacked firewood to prepare for the summer campfires to come.

In attendance were groups from St. Paul Lutheran Church in Union, Mo., and Trinity Lutheran Church in New Haven, Mo. A group from the Beta Sigma fraternity at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Mo., also volunteered, as well as people from Effingham, Ill., and Lake Ozark, Mo.

“My favorite thing [about Servant Events] is seeing all the different ages working together for the common goal of helping Camp Trinity and its ministry,” said Ruth Rethemeyer, executive director of the camp.

LCMS Servant Events are a tremendous help for organizations like summer camps, which have big maintenance projects every year that need to be done to prepare for next summer’s batch of campers. Big projects for Camp Trinity this year included resurfacing the gaga ball pit to make it safer for campers and digging up fence posts and rearranging fences to create more pasture.

Volunteers and staff clean up the property. Top: Volunteers (from left) Noah Brinker, Ethan Tessaro and Joshua Gernander remove an old fence post in March.

By accomplishing many big jobs in a single day, a Servant Event like Camp Trinity’s spring cleanup helps the camp focus on its main mission: spreading the Gospel.

“Without [Servant Events], this ministry wouldn’t be possible. Their volunteered service helps Camp Trinity utilize its monetary donations for materials necessary for projects and not labor, allowing Camp Trinity to accomplish more and, in turn, be able to share God’s Word with more [campers],” said Rethemeyer.

Servant Events also help youth live out their faith and become leaders in the church.

“Sometimes from those events, [youth] … learn about church work, [or they] learn about working at camps and serving in different ministries,” said Meredith Whitefield Smith, communication specialist for LCMS Youth Ministry.

The events range in duration from one day to several weeks. Some are full of active, hands-on volunteer work, while others focus on community outreach and building relationships. Through all kinds of service, youth put their talents to use and learn to be the hands and feet of Christ.

“Servant Events are a really good opportunity for youth, congregations, groups and families to use their gifts and skills to serve others in their community. For many of our Servant Events, we need lots of different gifts and skills. It’s not just manual labor,” said Smith.

During the summer of 2023, 12 different hosts across the United States are hosting 28 events. LCMS Youth Ministry is always on the lookout for new host organizations to serve with LCMS Servant Events.

The Rev. Andrew Preus, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, New Haven, Mo., helps stack fresh firewood.

For the first time this summer, LCMS Youth Ministry has partnered with the LCMS Office of International Mission (OIM) to promote OIM’s service opportunities abroad for youth and young adults. These Servant Events range from helping run vacation Bible school at Lutheran churches in Jamaica or Peru to helping remodel the parsonage of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Panama City, Panama.

Servant Events are a wonderful opportunity for youth to bear the love of Christ by meeting the needs of others. Whether youth are volunteering in a familiar context or a completely new place, and whether their service involves manual labor or conversations with people in the community, Servant Events help youth learn to love as Christ loves.

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Sarah Reinsel

Staff writer and editor for LCMS Communications.

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