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Outreach offers Spring Break options

Monday, March 10, 2008  
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By Lori Woodfin

Outreach has a solution for students with busy schedules who want to serve but can't find the time. Any student can choose from three different campaigns lead by Outreach during spring break.

Outreach has been a student-lead organization on campus since 1953. With a focus of promoting foreign and domestic missions, some of Outreach's many traditions are the annual spring break campaigns.

"Outreach encourages students to become better informed and more involved in all kinds of ministry and missions," Outreach sponsor Bob Carpenter said. "An excellent way to become better informed and more involved is to actually do it."

San Antonio and Memphis, Tenn. have been the destinations of many Outreach campaigns, and the relationship between Outreach and these ministries has been built over many years.

In San Antonio, students will encourage and fellowship with the Alamo City Church of Christ.

Students will also hand out fliers inviting people in the community to Bible studies offered by the church. The church builds its evangelism plan around this week.

"They really count on this effort on the part of OC students at spring break to hand out fliers for Bible studies they do," Carpenter said. "Every year, they come back and tell us about people who were converted as a result of getting involved in those Bible studies. It's become an integral part of the ministry at the Alamo City Church of Christ.

Outreach President Chad Lukkason has been on previous campaigns to San Antonio and is leading this year's campaign. Lukkason is looking forward to the break from school, seeing old friends and becoming reacquainted.

"I am excited to meet the new members of the church that have come to know Christ this past year," Lukkason said.

In Memphis, students will be working with the Memphis Urban Ministries. MUM is a ministry of 20 churches headed by the Highland Street Church of Christ. Five urban churches have been planted around metro-Memphis, according to the MUM Web site.

The students campaigning in Memphis will help with a day camp for the children of inner-city Memphis. MUM is also planning a special training session for the students of the campaign.

Outreach treasurer David Hinds is leading the campaign to Memphis. Last year, Hinds went to San Antonio.

"I wanted to do something different than last year, and I am really excited for Memphis and the new experiences," Hinds said. "I do know Memphis is a place of need with obstacles I have never really seen before. I know God will open my eyes there, and that will probably be quite an understatement," Hinds said.

Freshman Jerica Briggs is also going on the Memphis campaign.

"This is a great opportunity to do state-side missions, experience poverty, get out of your comfort zone and live out your faith," Briggs said.

Briggs is looking forward to spending time with the children in Memphis.

Last year, a third spring break campaign option was added for students. They now have the opportunity to stay in town and work with different organizations in the Oklahoma City area.

Last year students worked with Capitol Hill Church of Christ, City Rescue Mission, Infant Crisis Center, Habitat for Humanity and Special Care.

"We realize that many people need to work or visit family over some of spring break but still want to have a chance to serve," senior church relations officer Caleb VanBuskirk said. "So, this year we're planning on being pretty flexible with scheduling."

In the past, other Outreach campaigns have traveled to other places in the states like Colorado and even across the border to Regina, Saskatchewan.

Campaigns to San Antonio and Memphis will cost $65 for each student. The cost for students wanting to participate in the OKC campaign is $25.

Students who have campaigned with Outreach have enjoyed the opportunity to learn.

"I think that students grow a tremendous amount from being able to go and spend a week serving," Lukkason said. "Doing something like this for a week really puts life in perspective and highlights the really important things in life rather than the trivial things that often distract us from seeing the truly significant aspects of life."

Another aspect the Outreach students enjoy during the campaigns is serving. Even through the semester, the group strives to serve local congregations and the community. Spring Break is an extra opportunity.

"There is a lot of talk about doing well and serving the Lord in our environment at OC," Hinds said. "This is one of many ways to put that into action and help the needy. We have been given so much, and it is important to give back and serve."

Outreach is a not a closed organization. All students are invited to attend the weekly meetings on Monday nights, the different service projects offered every week and other activities sponsored by Outreach.

"I think people have heard about Outreach, but people don't realize what all goes on and may assume you have to be a member of Outreach, and that's not true," Carpenter said.  "There is opportunity to get involved as much as you want and even to inspire leadership."

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