Servant Teams: Local or Global?

Servant Teams is a 10-month gap year program under Lahash International. Participants receive in-depth training in missional theology and community development, and engage in hands-on service in both the city of Portland and overseas in East Africa. The Servant Teams vision is that participants become a diverse wave of missional leaders, equipped to answer God’s call into the work of loving service.


It is common to think about engaging in missions either locally or globally. Should I engage with the people living in my own neighborhood and find ways to serve? Or should I extend myself into a cross-cultural setting in another part of the world and come alongside people there who are in need of support?

For young people exploring their unique path into missional leadership, these are important questions to consider. And Servant Teams answers YES to both of them.

Rockwood Community Center in Portland is one setting for Servant Team members to gain experience in local missional engagement.

In Luke 10, Jesus is asked by a young lawyer “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus gets him to answer his own question. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus affirms this, but the man wants more clarification. “Who is my neighbor?”

Jesus’ response is the well-known story often referred to as “The Good Samaritan.” Both a priest and a Levite pass by a man who has been beaten and left for dead, without offering help. A Samaritan is moved with compassion, and cares for the injured man’s needs. Jesus asks which of the three men was a neighbor to the one in need, and commissions the listeners to “Go, and do likewise.”

Volunteering locally can be a lot of fun!

Jesus focuses on what it looks like to be a loving neighbor, and Servant Teams follows that focus. During the first half of the Servant Teams year, participants learn about missional theology and also engage in loving their local neighbors with hands-on experience rooted in Christian Community Development. Servant Team members volunteer at a neighborhood organization that serves vulnerable children and families in Portland. Then during the second half of the year, all that training is put into practice cross-culturally, by loving global neighbors in East Africa.

There are unique challenges and joys to both local and global missions, and both are important ways to participate in God’s redemptive work in the world. The Servant Teams program is designed to be a hands-on exploration of missional living: loving God and serving together. If the question is “local or global,” the answer is always YES.

This Servant Team got to work alongside a ministry in Uganda, and help dig out a pig shed for a livestock project.

APPLICATIONS ARE BEING ACCEPTED THROUGH JUNE 30 for the 2018-2019 Servant Team year that begins in September! Learn more about the program and apply online.