From May 22-29, "Impact Zone" a pilot effort by the North American Mission Board to engage students in rehabiliating substandard housing and also present them with a Christian perspective from top corporate leaders will be launched. Through this project, organizers hope students will learn what real leadership is all about--servitude.
“Jesus said, ‘He who is going to be greatest among you shall be servant of all,’ and we’re going to be showing these young adults that part of leadership is giving yourself away and not expecting anything in return,” said Robert E. (Bob) Reccord, president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Students will be housed at Wheaton College and work on houses in suburban Chicago, including Aurora, Calument City and Hammond, Ind. The project is modeled after World Changers where student volunteers rehabilitate substandard housing in cooperation with local governments.
During the day, participants will work on houses then receive leadership training in the evenings from high-profile Christian leaders including, Bill Pollard, former CEO and chairman of ServiceMaster Company; Dallen Peterson, founder and retired chairman of Merry Maids Inc.; Don Soderquist, former senior vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores; Jay Strack, founder and president of Student Leadership University. Reccord is also scheduled to speak. The lectures were arranged through a partnership with NAMB’s own Next level Leadership Network.
“They’re all believers, and they’ve all proven themselves in their respective fields,” said Jonathan Wilson, a student volunteer mobilization associate for NAMB, of the speakers. . “Most of them are doing it on their own time. They are coming in for a night or a portion of the day just to share their insights, their testimony.”
Impacting the next generation is important, according to Reccord, who said it is "the effectiveness of Kingdom impact across our land."
But for now, the immediate goal is for Impact Zone become an every-year program.
"We want college students to be able to look forward to participate in Impact Zone every spring," said Wilson.