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World Changers schedule 93 cities
for 2006; February 1 is ‘lock-in’ deposit date

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Thousands of Southern Baptist students –- from teenage to college-age -– will swarm into 93 U.S. cities this summer to work on 2006 World Changers mission projects to renovate substandard housing around the country.

Feb. 1 is the deadline for churches throughout the Southern Baptist Convention to pay $50-per-person deposits to “lock in” project and youth registrations.

“This will be our 17th summer of projects for World Changers,” said Jim Burton, director of volunteer mobilization for the SBC’s North American Mission Board. “We have a great track record for providing Baptist students with an excellent mission experience.”

Created in 1990, World Changers is a mission experience packaged by NAMB enabling students -– middle school-aged to college -– to donate part of their summer to rehabilitate substandard housing. At the same time, they develop their mission skills, grow in their faith and share the Gospel.

Renovation projects will kick off June 10 and run through Aug. 5, said John Bailey, NAMB’s national manager for World Changers.

“We’ll hold our larger World Changers events, called our XL Projects, in Norfolk, Va., and Birmingham, Ala.,” Bailey said. “We’ll have 800 kids in Norfolk, which will feature well-known youth speaker David Nasser and Jami Smith and her worship band. In Birmingham, we’ll have 500 students and feature Mike Satterfield as speaker and the Warren Jacobs Band.”

Bailey said new cities participating in World Changers in 2006 include Little Rock, Ark.; Tulsa, Okla.; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Gallup, N.M. World Changers also is sponsoring several spring break projects in March and April.

In the wake of last fall’s devastating hurricane season on the Gulf Coast, World Changers also is increasing the number of construction renovation projects in the affected states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

In 2005, World Changers carried out housing rehabilitation projects in 93 cities, involving more than 25,000 student volunteers. Students were mobilized into 2,000 work crews who completed 1,888 work projects, presented the Gospel more than 15,000 times and saw 1,500 people make professions of faith.

“Each year we’ve had from 1,100-1,300 Southern Baptist churches participate in World Changers by mobilizing their own youth groups and registering them,” Bailey said. “This year’s need is so great because of the Gulf Coast hurricanes, so we need even more caring churches to participate.”

World Changers construction teams are organized so that each team does work appropriate for the age group. Each team is headed by a crew chief — a Baptist builder or construction expert.

“They are the teachers,” Bailey said. “We have a network of guys who are super to work with. We couldn’t do World Changers without them. They help students get it right. They show them how to saw a board, nail shingles, hang doors or windows, even how to build a wheelchair ramp.”

The homeowners selected to receive assistance in the renovation or repair of their homes must be below the poverty level and physically or financially unable to do the work on their own.

“Every city has substandard housing and blighted neighborhoods,” Bailey said. “We partner with these cities, each of which has a department of community development which chooses the homeowners.

“So it’s a win-win-win situation for World Changers, the cities and the homeowners,” Bailey said. “We come in as a faith-based organization offering free labor. It gives NAMB and World Changers a way to significantly minister and help less-fortunate people with needs.”

Students and/or their church pay an average of $260 each to cover the costs of the student’s food, lodging and transportation during the weeklong project.

“My passion and the passion here at NAMB is to have entire church youth groups involved in World Changers,” Bailey said. “We’re not only recruiting the elite, super-spiritual kid to go on mission. We want a church’s entire youth group to get entry-level experience on mission.”

Churches that have not yet registered can go to the http://worldchangers.studentz.com site to sign up or see a list of project cities. There is a $50 per participant deposit, payable by the Feb. 1 deadline. This deposit secures a church’s registration. Churches can still register after Feb. 1. Balances are due either May 1 or June 1, depending on the project date and availability. For additional information, call World Changers at 1-800-462-8657.

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  • Mickey Noah