Summer of Service Overview

The Summer of Service (SOS) seeks to prepare students to be culturally competent Christian servants in the world and to come alongside, assist and encourage those engaged in Christian mission. In order to adequately prepare students as short-term missionaries significant time is devoted to their spiritual growth and formation and understanding God's heart for the nations. Likewise they learn about current world events, research specific sites, discuss ways of sharing the Gospel, and work at developing a higher cultural IQ.

Students serve outside their normal cultural setting which creates opportunities for personal growth as the students seek to know God's will and serve Him in the world. The experience allows for both success and failure as students develop strengths and discover weaknesses. As they witness the diversity of God's people and creation in different communities and cultures, they gain a better understanding of needs faced by people in other parts of our country and world and recognize their responsibility as Christians to be engaged in addressing and responding appropriately to these needs. We hope SOS students return as changed people who have a greater awareness of the beauty and complexity of life and who desire to share and participate in God' redeeming work in this world.

What are the financial commitments?

SOS participants will work together as a team to raise the total cost of their SOS experience through support letters, personal contributions, and organized group fundraisers. Each team member will have an estimated expected contribution of $3,000 to $5,500 for international trips or $1,500 to $2,000 for domestic trips toward the team total. ALL team members will need to continue to fund raise until the total cost for all participants has been raised. Costs covered by these funds include travel, room and board, program costs, visas, travel insurance and some immunizations. Passport fees and personal spending money are not included.

What are the transportation arrangements?

SOS makes all arrangements for the students to travel round trip from their homes to their sites. For some going to international locations this may involve meeting their summer team at an orientation site in the U.S. and then traveling as a team to their summer site.

How are sites chosen and placements made?

SOS has many direct contacts with leaders of established ministries and the Director of Missions maintains a list of potential sites. Students indicate on their application sites where they are willing to serve. If a student already has a place in mind not on the approved list, he or she ought to indicate this on their application and discuss the option with the Director of Missions during their interview. You can access previous years’ SOS reports on the Campus Ministry webpage to read about many of our sites. The Director of Missions will determine final site assignments.

How much time is involved?

SOS placements are for six to ten weeks in the summer. During the spring semester, the SOS team trains together during a required weekend retreat in January and other regularly scheduled meetings. During the fall semester after returning, students are required to attend a weekend debriefing retreat. You can estimate that a minimum of two to three hours per week during the spring semester will need to be devoted to SOS.

Is there a GPA requirement?

Yes. SOS students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5.

Is academic credit available?

Students do not receive academic credit for their SOS experience. However, “Intro to Christian Missions” or “World Religions” is strongly recommended and could be of great benefit in preparation of the SOS experience.

Is there a follow-up on summer experiences?

Yes. SOS students complete evaluations, write reports, participate in a reflection retreat in August, and meet one-on-one with the Director of Missions to talk about the implications of those experiences for their lives.

What is the process?

  1. Students must complete an application online by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 1, 2019.
  2. Students are interviewed November 6-8, 2019.
  3. Students are notified of their acceptance or denial into the SOS program on November 15, 2019.
  4. Students are matched with service sites in December, January, and February.

For more information contact Patrick Hummel, Director of Missions, in the Campus Ministry Office located in the Ramaker Center. You can also contact the student coordinators listed here below.


Patrick Hummel (, Devin Vander Werff (, or Kate Staab (