Monday, May 21, 2012

Denver's Homeless Debate


For the past 2 months Denver officials and homeless advocates have been discussing and debating over a homeless-camping ban that will make it illegal for unauthorized camping in both public and private property in Denver. The new ordinance was passed with a 9-4 vote and was signed by Denver's Mayor on May 14th, to go into effect May 30th. Click here to read an article reporting the vote.  

This controversial discussion has 2 sides, however many homeless advocates are concerned for the growing number of people finding themselves homeless, many for the first time without shelter. Here is an article that explains the growth of Denver's homeless population as well as the need for more shelter across the city.   

Please join us in praying for Denver as this ordinance goes into practice. 

Pray that city officials and advocates would work together to make sure that individuals and families are receiving the services needed to get back on their feet.  

- Keysha Boggess, CSM Denver City Director


Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Denver!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A City of Activists




Many cities across the nation are home to some serious "movers and shakers". How is your city (and your church!) being developed by these folks?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

2012 T-Shirts

We are excited for this year's t-shirts! They will be available in all CSM cities this summer.
What makes these so special?
  • We partner with Youth Enterprise to print the shirts. They are an amazing non-profit based out of Minneapolis, MN that is dedicated to "equipping youth living in urban areas with relevant life and business skills grounded in the hope of Christ." When you purchase a CSM t-shirt, you are providing urban youth with invaluable job skills. Win/Win all the way!
  • This year's t-shirts are super soft!! Like "I-wanna-sleep-in-this" soft.
  • We are committed to selling these shirts at affordable prices and will be offering them for $15 each.
Light Brown - Mens/Unisex
Turquoise - Mens/Unisex
Black - Ladies

Friday, May 11, 2012

Meeting Big Needs through Simple Ways


The folks over at Relevant Magazine recently pulled together a great article - 7 Simple Ways to Meet Big Needs. Check it out!

They list some great ideas to help individuals start engaging in God's call to love and care for the poor among us. It's a great place to start breaking down the overwhelmingness that issues of poverty can easily create. We aren't called to remain paralyzed in that "overwhelmingness" - but rather to move into action because we serve our neighbors, we are actually feeding, clothing and loving Jesus.

What are some ways you've begun meeting some big needs around you?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Change


Are we affecting change? This is a question we struggle with in the Denver office regularly. We strive to challenge our groups to be part of the solution to the many issues we are diving into during the week. My desire is that the youth who come through our program would have a life changing experience where they cannot go home and forget about what is going on in their own urban back yards. I heard an encouraging story this spring from one of our regular groups; a private high school from Albuquerque, NM. They bring their junior class to Denver on their school-wide mission week each spring.  Last year's class was deeply impacted by the things they learned on our prayer tour and by the many stories they were able to hear throughout their week.  They took what they learned home and put it into action.

During our prayer tour we stop next to civic center park where we spend some time learning about homelessness.   Surrounded by several museums, the city and county building and the state capital we are standing  where tourism, business and politics collide.   It is here where groups learn about the Denver's Road Home, a program instituted by the mayor in 2005 with the goal of ending homelessness in 10 years.  We are standing next to a red meter that is part of DRH's program. In 2007, 86 meters were placed around the city in high foot traffic and panhandling areas. The goal is to increase community awareness as well as raise funds. Each meter is covered in statistics about homelessness and all the money collected is given to agencies working with the homeless. The meters are also sponsored by a company or organization for $1000 and the program is on track with their goal of raising $100,000 a year! I love the visual that this gives students of how even a little bit of effort can add up to a lot of change!  

This group of students was inspired by the idea of the meter program and is currently trying to institute the program in all cities with an approximate population of 500.000. They have created a petition on the Change.org website.  Check out the petition here and join them by adding your signature!  I am encouraged by their vision of seeing this sort of program in multiple cities and their initiative to seek change.  

-Keysha Boggess, CSM Denver City Director

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Denver!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Fundraising Ideas for Your CSM Mission Trip!

"God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply" - Hudson Taylor


We know that pulling together a mission trip can take A LOT of work and planning. Beyond recruiting trip participants, going through some pre-trip training, and working out the transportation details, you still need to figure out how to pay for the trip!
Here are some fundraising ideas we've come across:

  • Pink Flamingos. A flamingo (or flamingos) gets placed in your yard. You have to pay $5 (per flamingo) to remove it and have it placed in someone else’s yard. For $20 you can buy anti-flamingo insurance. This is a lot of fun, and productive, but very labor intensive. (taken from ReThinking Youth Ministry Blog)
  • Child-care night. We’ve done this on Valentine’s day and sometime during the holiday season. (taken from ReThinking Youth Ministry Blog)
  • Silent Auction - The best fundraisers are the ones with no cost and plenty of profit. If well-organized, this fundraiser will cost you nothing and can be a fun fellowship event. Solicit whatever donated items people might want to offer: furniture, toys, tickets to events/performances, gift certificates to local establishments, artwork, sporting equipment, etc. Often for this event I encourage youth to offer a service for auction, such as babysitting hours or lawn-mowing. Set all the items out on tables with bid sheets and note a minimum starting bid and bid increase amount for each item. I find it helps to couple this event with a church dinner that is already on the schedule so that people will hang around longer and keep bidding. (taken from ReThinking Youth Ministry Blog)
  • Eat out! Some fast food restaurants host fundraisers! Be sure to check out Krispy KremeBaja Fresh and Boston Market. Check out a great article on how to get started with restaurant fundraising!
  • Scholarship. Did you know that there are scholarships out there youth groups looking to serve in missions? Kurt Warner (football quarterback) is currently accepting applications for 2013 Spring Break and Summer trips! Check out his website and click on "Mission Possible!" to find out more.

Do you have an idea to share? Post it here or email us!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Are We Really Called to be 'Servants'?


“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what the master is doing. I call you friends for all that I have heard from my Father, I have made known to you.” 
John 15:15

In his book, The Careless Society, John Mcknight describes what he sees as a truly "upside down" message from Christ at the Last Supper. In this story, Christ challenges the disciples to see themselves not merely as givers or receivers of charity but as friends. This story hints at the idea that perhaps the desire for power and lordship can exist even in our “acts of service.” This story continually challenges my deepest understandings of how to serve, receive and ultimately how to see myself and my neighbor.

Christ’s mandate to be friends is a revolutionary idea in our serving society. Here we are, a nation of professionalized servers, following Christ’s mandate to serve. And here He is, at the final moment, getting it backwards once again. The final message is not to serve. Rather he directs us to be friends. Why friends rather than servants? Perhaps it is because He knew that servants could always become lords but that friends could not. Servants are people who know the mysteries that can control those to whom they give ‘help.’ Friends are people who know each other. They are free to give and receive.” - John McKnight



- Austin Sauerbrei, CSM Nashville Associate City Director


Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Nashville!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Looking for Jesus in the City

We just stumbled upon a fantastic article, "Urban Ministry: Looking for a Place to Call Home". Here's a short excerpt:

"Almost all the people I know who are deeply involved in urban ministry tell me that they came into this ministry to bring Jesus to the city—but once they deeply entered into the city, they found out that he was already there. Jesus was already there in the alleyways with crack addicts; he was under the bridges with people who are homeless; he was walking the streets with workers in the sex trade. He was already there.
But he’s also there in other ways. The architect who designs houses for folks who are homeless and people with severe disabilities looks like Jesus. The playwright who produces a powerful story of pain and redemption—there’s Jesus again. The local gardener developing community gardens in the city—well, Jesus has been confused with a gardener before..."

Learn how YOU can serve Jesus in the city through CSM!