The bright lights of New York City and the clear waters of Panama City Beach make these vastly different locales popular vacation destinations. Among the things they have in common, though, are people who need to hear the Good News and experience the love of Jesus.
Students from The HUB Student Ministry are headed to the Big Apple and the Florida coast to meet those needs during Rushmore (Jul 12-19) and Rush Week (Jul 19-26). Each trip is part camp and part mission trip, with time set aside for fun and sightseeing in addition to the intentional ministry work they'll be doing.
Learn about Rushmore and Rush Week below, follow along on their trips, and keep them in your prayers as they share the love and truth of Jesus Christ.
The inaugural Rushmore trip includes 48 incoming Seniors and recent graduates, 18 adults, the church's Missions interns, and The David Gentiles Band. They'll partner with five church planters and the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association — a MISSION 1:8 partner — to advance the Gospel in communities where the church planters live and work.
Students and leaders host VBS, clean streets, prayer walk, serve lunches at kids' camps, and a lot more. Along the way, they'll have Gospel-centered conversations with people they encounter — and that's what's led to a "nervous energy" the team is feeling leading up to the trip according to Minister to Students Justin Holcomb.
"The idea behind this trip is unique in that students will be starting conversations with random individuals from many different cultures," says Justin. "We've done that in Houston through Houston 1:8, but this is different — and a little scary. I'm so excited to see our students stretched as they learn to take every opportunity that is presented them to share the Good News of Jesus."
Justin says that the nervous energy has caused students and leaders to focus more than on previous trips or similar projects. The HUB Student Ministry team has encouraged Rushmore participants to be in constant communion with the Lord. Now, Justin believes that everyone's hearts are "ready to spill out on the people in New York City."
In addition to praying for the weather and safe travels, the team asks the Houston's First family to pray for students to be radically changed and challenged on this trip.
"My heart's desire is to see students broken and attentive for everyone they encounter anywhere they are," shares Justin. "Join us in praying that the experiences we have in NYC will transplant to life change in our students."
The 180 students and 76 adults headed to Panama City Beach aren't going for a relaxing, laid back trip to the beach. While they'll have time to enjoy the white sand and blue waters, their focus is on serving the people of the community and sharing the Gospel in the process.
Students going to Rush Week range from those who have completed 7th grade through those who just graduated High School. Some teams will work together on various service projects — painting and cleaning a local school, yard work and landscaping, light construction work. Other teams will go out in neighborhoods around Rush Week's partner churches to conduct a spiritual climate survey.
"While the students go door-to-door assessing where the community is spiritually, they'll be looking for opportunities to pray and to have Gospel-centered conversations with the residents," says Middle School Student Minister Tony Bianco.
This all may sound like a lot to expect of students, but Tony points out that more students are participating than ever before this summer when the Rushmore and Rush Week totals are combined.
"God is blessing many of our students with this opportunity," Tony said. "Also, most of our students who are going have been earning their money to go — more so than in past years. Because of this, our students are more personally invested in Rush Week since fundraising is a part of any missionary's experience."
The HUB Student Ministry team asks the Houston's First family to pray for the Rush Week students to come home "unsettled." Minister of Assimilation Malcolm Marshall will speak to the team five times during the week with a challenge to return home different than when they arrived in Florida.
"Our theme this year is Below the Surface," explains Tony. "Yes, the top of the water can be rocky at times, but there is much more that happens below the surface. We are hoping that students are honest with themselves and with each other. We want to see our students' relationships with each other grow deeper and closer."
Get updates from Rushmore and Rush Week on The HUB Students Events Blog.