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LifeWay adds student events in urban ministry

NASHVILLE (BP) — Infusion, a new summer event from LifeWay Students, has been announced for 2017 to immerse participants in ministry within urban contexts.

The six-day Infusion events next summer — joining World Changers, PowerPlant and LifeWay’s other student opportunities — will be educational and missions experiences, said Dave MacNeill of LifeWay Students.

“Infusion Missions involves students in hands-on experiences related to social justice and felt needs,” he said. “Infusion will excel in educating students on how the Gospel addresses the believer’s responsibility to be aware of and involved in social justice.”

Infusion joins World Changers, PowerPlant and other student opportunities offered each summer by LifeWay.

As awareness of social justice issues increases, many Millennials and members of Generation Z are trending away from traditional mission trips, MacNeill said, noting that Infusion will seek to connect evangelism with meeting the needs of individuals.

“This is not a social gospel,” he said. “This is an intentional strategy to share the Gospel of Christ in a social justice ministry and context.” For him, it’s a matter of fulfilling both the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

Social justice ministries often work to establish long-term local relationships to confront issues like poverty, racism or lack of education and health care, MacNeill said. “We want students to approach these issues with a Gospel motivation,” he said.

In 2017, teams will choose from six different week-long events in three cities: Atlanta, Memphis and Philadelphia. During the events, students will have the opportunity to live, eat, worship and minister outside their everyday context.

“It will be intentionally immersive with hopes that students will see themselves as ambassadors of justice within their own context,” MacNeill said. “We want to develop lifelong Gospel sharers as they meet social justice needs in their own communities as well.”

Students will learn to share the Gospel in the social justice context, MacNeill said, and will develop a heart of humility toward communities that are different from their own.

Jesus was clearly interested in meeting the needs of those often ignored by society, he noted, referencing Jesus’ quoting of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the captives and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19 HCSB).

LifeWay Students named the experience Infusion because it conveys what they hope to accomplish with participants. “Infusion is a unique term defined as ‘the process of introducing a quality or new element into something,'” MacNeill said. “We want to introduce students to an environment where lasting change can happen in the way they view and engage the world and its needs.”

MacNeill believes Infusion can be a seminal event in the lives of participants. “Students will be challenged through experiences designed to open their hearts toward the oppressed and marginalized. They will witness these needs firsthand,” he said. “Students will learn and understand the need for and impact of the Gospel in the social justice, felt needs context.”

For more information about Infusion, visit InfusionMissions.com.