As the youth leader of his local church, Jeff led his youth group on several week-long domestic mission trips in poverty-stricken areas. But he wrestled with the question: Why do we have to leave our home to do missions? Soon Jeff was praying and seeking how he could bring together his home city, the city of Norfolk, VA, and domestic missions. In 2016, EY2S started our first summer of missions. Jeff thought he would be lucky if one church came on an Empowering Youth 2 Serve mission trip. That summer, there were three churches. And every year since EY2S has grown.
Last summer, four youth attending an EY2S mission trip gave their lives to Christ. It is our partnership with local churches makes real change a reality. EY2S is a Norfolk-based, inner-city focused, mission organization, partnered with Norview Baptist Church, designed to train young people to see (and meet) the need next to them. When students are equipped with practical tools and trained in the Gospel, the inner-city is radically changed. When we send them home, they are. And isn’t that what we’re all looking for?
Our mission is to impact youth for God’s glory through equipping them to be leaders who are the hands and feet of Jesus.
Our vision is one teen, one youth group, one neighborhood, one city, influencing a nation. We believe that using our gospel-driven staff to influence youth to know God and to make Him known, will raise a generation of youth who reject passivity and serve the lost and broken with intentionality like Jesus Christ. These youth will transform not only our home city of Norfolk but in the future, cities nationwide with the gospel.
We have 5 Core Values at Empowering Youth 2 Serve. We value:
1) Prayer: We believe that we can do nothing apart from God. We pray because God is active and involved in the lives of His people, and delights in our prayers.
2) The Bible: God’s Word is truthful, trustworthy, and useful for us today. On every page He has laid out his great story of salvation, drawing us to Him.
3) Intentionality: God has intentionally planned to accomplish His purposes. We seek to emulate that intentionality by always using everyday moments as an opportunity to go deeper into the gospel.
4) Relationships: The Lord has always used relationships to build His kingdom-think of Jesus and His disciples. Jesus, the shepherd that goes after the one lost sheep, has called us to build relationships to do the same.
5) Transparency: Nothing that happens in the dark will remain hidden from the light. So we seek to live honestly; being accountable to God’s high standard of holiness.
Empowering Youth 2 Serve - What We Do
Empowering Youth 2 Serve leads youth on a week-long mission trip in the heart of Norfolk, Virginia each summer. We carefully seek out those most in need of our care, support and time. We search for a family that has poured out their hearts for the gospel and others. This family will be our launching point into a Norfolk neighborhood to serve, pray, and outreach to their neighbors during the summer. Each group that comes on an EY2S mission trip will have the opportunity to participate in part of the work project-whether building a deck, tearing out cabinets, painting, lawn care, and more!
We are also partnered with the Young Terrace Recreation Center. There, in the afternoons, student missionaries run a Vacation Bible School for 50 kids, sharing the gospel with the support of our staff. In addition to our summer mission trips, during the school year, the EY2S staff also volunteers at the recreation center’s after-school program.
An EY2S mission trip is a perfect opportunity for your missionary team to individually connect with God. Every morning we start with an hour-long devotion time called Breakfast with God. Each missionary is given a study guide to help them navigate a personal relationship with God. Another key component of an EY2S mission trip is our emphasis on intentionally building relationships. Breaking Bread is a key time in our day that allows youth the opportunity to share and seek guidance for their personal struggles, in issues of school, youth group, church, and life in general.
After an evening Bible study, we end each day of the mission trip with the Reflection Ceremony. This part of the trip gives youth an opportunity to share what they have seen in the lives of others.
Throughout the rest of the year, we have various worship nights, volunteer opportunities, and Bible studies for students to participate with our staff. We are also developing new opportunities for youth retreats and team-building retreats.