​Inga Haglund of Springs Mennonite Church in Salisbury, Pennsylvania, participates in a Servant Project at a fire station in Orlando, Florida, in 2017. Photo provided by Laurie Oswald Robinson. 

By Lauren Eash Hershberger
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

​Servant projects have been a convention highlight for many years, giving participants the opportunity to connect with nonprofits and do good in cities across the country. But what really goes into making them possible for thousands (yep, thousands) of convention-goers to serve in the local community?

Reaching out

Staff start working on making connections with organizations a year in advance to make sure there are enough placements to accommodate the various group sizes.

Communication

Participant information is gathered at convention registration. From there, the team takes over by communicating placements and times with group leaders, and making sure there are the correct number of giveaways for each group.

Getting from here to there

Imagine managing the transportation of 500 participants to around 20 organizations across the city. Now imagine doing it every day for a week! Starting to get a headache? The servant project team handles the coordination of up to 15 busloads of eager participants each day!

Brave and valiant leaders

Every group needs a service project leader to travel with them to the placement and to communicate with staff. Volunteers make up this crew, with around 20 people needed for the week.

Orientation

Servant project orientation is key: it's the one time during the week when Mennonite Mission Network staff hold the rapt attention of every participant. Introductions are made, guidelines are established, and servant project information and expectations are shared. Orientation is also a great time to remind youth of the service opportunities they can connect with though Mission Network!

Office staff

For the Servant Project staff, there really is no rest for the weary. Arloa, Jolene and Lori work with check-ins, giveaways, last-minute switches, no-shows, reminders and general troubleshooting throughout the whole week.

What is the result of all this work?

  • A network of relationships with organizational leaders, which lays a foundation for partnering with Mission Network in other future capacities.

  • Days of group team building, where participants step outside themselves to contribute to a greater good.

  • Concrete ways to give back to, and learn about, the local community that participants are a part of for a week.

  • Reminding people about our identity: Mennonite Mission Network is all about connecting with local leaders to serve.

  • To leave you with an impressive number, 34,985 participants have served since the beginning of Servant Projects in Orlando, Florida, in 1997!

 

 

 

 

https://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/A-peek-behind-the-curtain-of-servant-projects

​Lauren Eash Hershberger is Christian Service recruitment manager for Mennonite Mission Network.



 

 

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