At URBANA 15′, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship ran a HACK 4 MISSIONS process. As a result there are a growing number of students in IVCF who are leading this new changemaking celebration. At URBANA 15 Jimmy Quach presented a paper on “How to start a social business.” Brian Chan offered another paper on “Calling Technologists, Entrepreneurs and Innovators: A Different Breed of Missionaries.” Chan stated “We an bring economic empowerment to communities” as a new form of missions.
Scott Bessenecker, who heads up urban missions for IVCF, that we introduced in our last post as we shared lunch with him and Scott Hall. Several months ago Scott Bessenecker introduced me to Bethany Harrington a very creative social entrepreneur. Bethany enlisted fellow students in Atlanta to create a very innovative form social enterprise that is bringing economic and environmental empowerment.
“Bethany took time for an internship at an urban community in Chicago. InterVarsity’s Urban Projects not only encourage students like her to learn to listen to the people and the places where they work but also to imagine and create new responses. Bethany returned to Atlanta with a social enterprise idea called Atlanta Harvest. Her ideas were taken seriously by Grace-Midtown Church, where she was a community development intern.
She organized people in her church and community, as well as IV students from Emory University where she was studying, to start a major urban farm in an abandoned parking lot only two miles from downtown Atlanta. Her church not only supported her new social enterprise but also generously contributed to this innovative startup. So now, instead of Atlantans buying produce shipped in from hundreds of miles away, they can buy leafy greens grown practically in their own back yards. What might happen if your church took the ideas of young people like Bethaney seriously?” (Tom Sine, Live Like You Give A Damn! Join the Changemaking Celebration, Cascade Books, 2016)
What might happen if, not only in progressive campus ministries like IVCF, but Christian colleges, and local congregations started inviting the under 35 to share their innovative ideas of new ways to empower our local communities so the vulnerable are not chronically dependent on handouts?
Where have you seen examples of schools, churches or campus ministries who are not only inviting the ideas of students but also help them launch their best ideas like IVCF staff and Grace-Midtown Church did in Launching Atlanta Harvest?