Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Chicago Dives into Urban Education

Chicago's 2015 Urban Intensive Team

This past week CSM Chicago had the honor of hosting an Urban Intensive. College students from around the United States came and joined us in an intensive study on what urban education looks like, how we can be equipped in the classroom, and how individuals can join together to make a difference in the public school system both here in Chicago as well as in everyone’s own backyard.

If you've ever planned a service trip, you know that more often than not, we gain things out of the week that we weren’t planning to. After a few days of serving in schools and seven sessions later, we had to have a hard discussion about education. The question that kept coming to the surface was, “What is more important, Education, or Christ?” Of course, reading that quickly, it’s easy to respond with “Christ!” However, going beyond a surface level, we were challenged by educators to think of this - “Would you rather a child in the projects go to college and become successful, or would you rather that child stay in the projects, and find Christ?”

Oftentimes education is seen as the way out. It’s the pipeline that gets kids into colleges, careers, as well as comfortability. This week, the Urban Intensive team collaborated on how to effectively take both of these and implement them into a classroom. Several teachers shared with us on how they bring Christ into their classroom, even when their class is in a public school. 

Our Urban Intensive students ended their time with a debrief session that processed the following conclusions: 
  1. Pouring one's self out and loving students is fruitless if not motivated by Christ’s abundant love. 
  2. Students' spiritual needs are more important than their physical needs. 
  3. Every single person can play their part in a child’s life to lead them to a brighter future as well as to affect the urban education system.
Though they may have left with more questions than answers, the Urban Intensive participants have gained the confidence to ask those questions and skills to dig deeper into finding answers.

We invite you to continue to pray for this team of young leaders as they process all that they learned and deeply desire to use their gifts for the Kingdom.

- Lauren Maniaci, CSM Chicago City Director

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

CSM's Top Five of 2014

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end." - Ecclesiastes 3:11

2014 has been a GREAT year here at CSM! We are so grateful that each of you have been a part of it.

Here's our list for our Top 5 Moments of 2014...

5. Hearing from our dear friend, Shane Claiborne.
Shane recently sent us some super kind words. You know when you have a friend that just "gets you"? That's the kind of gratitude we feel for him and his work!
“Short term mission trips can create long term change. Most of the folks I know who are changing the world either grew up in tough places or were exposed to them on a mission trip. But short term trips can also be done in an irresponsible way that is sensational, voyeouristic, even patronizing. You often hear folks return from mission trips say: "I got much more out of the trip than a gave... I thought I went to bless, but I was the one who was blessed." And that is part of the problem. Sometimes we don't build the correct foundation or set up the proper posture when doing missions so that those who serve and those who are served are both dignified and honored, and in so doing, honor Christ. I can confidently say that the Center for Student Missions is doing short term mission trips as well as they can be done. The work of CSM is thoughtful, wise, symbiotic, and generative... and CSM is doing a brilliant job furthering the Kingdom of God. I am delighted to call them a partner in the revolution.”
Shane Claiborne
Author and activist
Red Letter Christians

4. Challenging you all with a quiz - Which US City Do YOU Belong In?
Did you take it?? If not - head on over to our quiz now and let us know which US city you belong in!

3. Hiring some amazing new staff! 
We are blessed to call these folks part of CSM's team now:
CSM Chicago - Lauren Maniaci (now City Director), Emily Molloy and Sarah Trax
CSM Detroit - Emily Hoffmann
CSM Houston - Jason McMinn
CSM Los Angeles - Allison Schuh
CSM Nashville - Breanne McLendon (now City Director) and Mary Timaeus
CSM Washington DC - Eno Udoibe 
CSM Home Office - Laura Hayner (PT Apprenticeship Coordinator)

2. Opening CSM Detroit!

After much hard work, some seriously awesome "God-incidences", and tons of prayer, CSM opened it's doors in the grand city of Detroit this year!

And we'd love to still have you become a financial partner in seeing CSM Detroit become a full-time, year-round site.

1. Serving our communities for 268,272 hours!

Over 9,050 participants came through CSM's doors this year. They provided over 268,272 hours of service in 11 cities across the United States - all in the name of Jesus. We are honored and humbled to be equipping the saints of the Church to serve His people.

We eagerly look forward to all that 2015 has in store. Join us in being Jesus' hands and feet in the city!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gifts that give back!

If you're on the hunt for ethical gifts this Christmas season, here are a few resources that may help...

A few other favorites of our staff are:

Thistle Farms - out of Nashville, TN, they supply natural beauty products and jobs for women in transition.

Homeboy Industries - out of Los Angeles, CA, you can find delicious baked goods and more, all while supporting gang members looking for "jobs not jail".

Where else would you suggest?

Friday, December 05, 2014

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

It's #GivingTuesday - TODAY is the day to give back!

It was expected that Americans spent nearly $37 BILLION over the Black Friday weekend and nearly $4 billion on Cyber Monday. That's billion with a "B", friends!

What if that money was used for good? What if it began to fuel after-school programs for at-risk youth, nutritional meals for the elderly and terminally ill, ESL classes for refugees fleeing persecution? How much better would this world be if we shifted our focus from "presents" to "presence"?

Here at CSM, that's exactly what we strive to do. We serve the often-forgotten of this world and partner in Kingdom work across the United States. Simply put, we could not serve these eleven cities without the generosity of our donors.

Here's what your gifts have enabled us to do this year:
  • 9,054 individuals served in 11 cities.
  • Over 268,000 hours of service were provided to hundreds of critical ministries (homeless shelters, food banks, kid's ministries, summer Vacation Bible Schools, and SO much more!)
  • 8  Apprentices spent the year in cities across the country intentionally serving in their communities, learning from local leadership and developing their skills as urban leaders.
  • We opened our 11th city - Detroit!
What an amazing year it's been! Thank you for your partnership in making that amazing impact a reality. 

Want to make a difference this Giving Tuesday?? We would love to have you join one of our major fundraising teams:

Apprenticeship - a year long leadership training program!
Detroit - our newest city!

Thanks to your generosity and the commitment of our groups and ministry partners, we look forward to 2015 with expectant hope.