By partnering with and working alongside local ministries throughout the week of Radius Camp, we hope to expose students to both physical and spiritual need, and we hope to place their serving experience within the context of the broader, life-long journey of learning and engagement with God’s work in the world, focusing on understanding his mission and their role in it more fully.
Students have the unique privilege of learning from local ministry leaders about how God is at work in the community and about the ongoing efforts of the ministry leaders to live out the gospel in their own radius of influence. After learning from these ministry leaders, students will be inspired to return home and work for the good of their own communities. In addition, as those who are being equipped and receiving from others all week at Radius Camp, students are also given time at our ministry sites to give back to the ministry and the community through various service projects.
During the week of camp, each church group will be partnered with an existing, local ministry in the city. At Radius Camp, we do not only learn from the Bible teaching; the mission site experiences are also a learning opportunity. Thus, it is important for students and leaders to come with a teachable spirit and be willing to receive both from Radius and our ministry partners in the city. However, real relationships involve reciprocity. Our hope is to establish a level of reciprocity between students and our ministry partners by creating a time for students to give while they are receiving.
Depending on the nature of the work that our ministry partners are already doing in their community, Radius students will come alongside them in one of two ways:
- Helping them establish credibility and relational equity within their community. This may mean helping with events or serving in the day-to-day work of the ministry. In this case, our students are working alongside the local ministry, engaged in the work that ministry is already doing throughout the year.
- Blessing the local ministry staff. This may mean helping with activities that they have not been able to accomplish due to the high demands of ministry work. In the past we have achieved this goal by restoring dignity to facilities through landscaping, painting, or basic repairs, organizing clothes closets or food pantries, cleaning out storage areas, and completing any other activities that serve and encourage the ministry team.
We place students in situations where they can thrive and be of real use to our ministry partners and the local community. Rather than providing busy work or even work that is detrimental to the community or ministry partner, we seek to partner with ministries where we can ensure that the service project is both sustainable and meaningful.
Sustainable work is healthy for the students and ministry partners. Since most all of our ministries are working in contexts where long-term development is required, we seek to provide projects that are simply one piece of a broader journey towards long-term engagement. Our hope is to minimize dependency in those whom we are serving and to minimize feelings of superiority or ethnocentrism in church groups who participate in a Radius Camp.
Meaningful work is truly beneficial to the ministry and community. Thus, we want to avoid projects that simply keep students busy or undermine the long-term developmental goals of the ministry partner. Although some of these projects may seem tedious or monotonous, our ministry partners will be faithful to place the project within the framework of their long-term benefits and overall strategy for engagement with the community.