MISSIONS

At First Pres, we live our faith through service. We love and serve in response to Christ’s call and the needs around us - read more about the current needs of our partners below.

We share God’s love with the world by partnering with local, national, and global organizations, diverse in their missions and locations. They share a common goal of Christ love in action. We send our members into these partnerships in fun, creative ways. Engage partners have structured ongoing and unique opportunities to serve together, whether through tutoring, family fun nights, work projects, social interaction, or mission trips.

Our Engage Partners

What are ENGAGE partners?

First Pres has close, active relationships with three Engage Partners—YMEN of North Lawndale in Chicago, Outreach Community Ministries in DuPage County, and Kids Alive in the Dominican Republic. These organizations are diverse in their missions and locations, but they share at their heart a common goal of fostering Christ’s love in action – and they offer structured, varied ongoing opportunities to serve together, whether through tutoring, work projects, social interactions or trips. Our history of service together runs deep.

First Pres has also built missional relationships with a broad range of Christian missions locally, nationally and globally that can offer you life-altering service opportunities. We financially and prayerfully support the individuals and families who have made a commitment to serve and share God’s word in some of the most challenging places.

Offering your God-given time and talent to these worthy partners will change you forever.

Outreach Community Ministries

Outreach is based in DuPage County and partners with churches to offer faith-based community service to area residents free of charge. First Pres partners with Outreach through after-school tutoring and through involvement with Jubilee Village, Outreach’s transitional housing program for young mothers. Jubilee Village staff work with young adult women and single mothers for up to two years to assist the women in transitioning to stable, independent living. “Having been affiliated with Outreach since 1975 I have watched the ministry grow from providing resources to street kids to a vital partner to the communities in Dupage County through services to immigrants and disadvantaged families. Tutoring, volunteering at Jubilee Village and constructing the Jubilee Furniture store have been highlights of my engagement with Outreach.” – Bob Duncan
First Pres Liaison: Bob Duncan

How can I get involved?

  • Babysitting for Bible Study: As we emerge from lockdown, there are opportunities to assist the young mothers with childcare in the evenings so they can attend Bible Study with their peers.
  • Outreach Community Tutoring: Tutors assist an individual student with homework and academic goals while providing a positive adult role model in their lives.
  • Donate to Jubilee Furniture: Donate good quality furniture to Outreach’s quality used furniture shop or volunteer in the store.
  • Offer a Trade Service: First Pres members with a trade skill often help maintain and improve the apartments at Jubilee Village. Painters, plumbers, electricians, and handymen/women can offer valuable services!
  • Christmas Store – Each December Outreach provides low-cost new items to low income families in Dupage County. First PresGE provides gifts and staffs the store offering free hats and gloves for families.
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YMEN of North Lawndale

Young Men’s Educational Network (YMEN) prepares young men and women who live in North Lawndale in Chicago for leadership by helping them grow in their faith and character, develop a love for learning, and use their talents to serve the broader community. Beginning in 1999, the partnership between YMEN and First Pres has grown significantly, including joint mission trips to Montana and Uganda, and now with a focus on activities that bring First Pres members together into one-on-one relationships with the youth of YMEN. These young people seek to learn and grow; they need your friendship and encouragement along the way. “In 2023 we began to provide Saturday Morning meals to residents on the community. This opportunity to interact with disadvantaged adults through a common meal has been an extraordinary new ministry of our church.” – Bob Duncan
First Pres Liaison: Bob Duncan

How can I get involved?

  • Community Garden planting – Each June, First Pres families travel to North Lawndale to prepare garden beds in the community vegetable garden.
  • My Brothers Kitchen – On the first Saturday of each month First PresGE prepares and serves a meal to any resident of North Lawndale that walks into the YMEN Center. Volunteer opportunities to prepare meals or serve attendees is a unique way to come to know the community.
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Kids Alive International in the Dominican Republic

Kids Alive International provides Christian care and education to orphans and at-risk children, serving them through its residential homes and schools at locations around the world.  When a child’s own home is no longer a safe option, Kids Alive cares for them in family-like units with loving Christian house parents. First Pres has a long-standing relationship with Ark Constanza in the Dominican Republic. The Ark is a refuge of hope and safety for up to 40 children and youth who have come from hard places. There are currently four brightly colored homes where the kids live as “families” and learn what it means to belong. Holistic care is the goal, and the children attend school, receive counseling to cope with trauma, and hear about the love of Jesus. The homes share a property with the Kids Alive school in Constanza, where the children receive an excellent education. Including those in the Ark residential homes the Constanza School provides more than 200 impoverished children in this valley town with K-8 education, soon to include high school. Discipleship, tutoring, and sports programs are provided, and a cafeteria allows the school to offer better nutrition to children who desperately need it. Most importantly, the students hear daily about the love, care, and healing power that Jesus offers. First Pres Liaison: Keith Mote

How can I get involved?

  • Mission trips – First Pres organizes mission trips to Constanza to engage with children at the Ark and school, do local building projects, perform campus maintenance, complete special projects, and experience how God is working in the lives of people Please consider joining the upcoming trip over Presidents Day weekend in February 2024.
  • Sponsor a child – Make a lasting impact on a child’s Several First Pres members have met their sponsor children on their mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
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Our Local Partners

Bridge of Hope Ministry

A First Pres mission for almost 30 years, Bridge of Hope is a transitional housing program for homeless families of DuPage County that is supported by our congregation in conjunction with program partner Bridge Communities, Inc.  The typical beneficiaries of the program consist of a single mother with dependent children, who embark on a journey with us for approximately 2 years, moving from hopelessness and homelessness to stability and opportunity.
First Pres Liaison: Chris Symons
Learn more: bridgecommunities.org

How can I get involved?

  • Become a Mentor – From budgeting to life skills, vital to the program are volunteer mentors from our congregation, who develop caring and supportive relationships with our guest families, helping them and coaching them in making good choices for their families as they strive to move from homelessness to a new life. Opportunities and time commitments vary, but typically average about an hour per week.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the two new families who are headed by single mothers – – that they find the strength to meet the needs of caring for their children, while also doing the hard work to develop new skills, and improve their education or employment situations.
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Central DuPage Pastoral Counseling Center (CDPCC)

First Pres founded CDPCC, a faith-based Christian agency that provides affordable, professional pastoral counseling to the public in an ecumenical setting. Pastoral counseling relies on theology and behavioral science working together to provide comprehensive insights into life.
First Pres Liaison: Erik Peterson
Learn more:
cdpcc.org

How can I get involved?

  • Individuals may volunteer for board membership, help/participate in fundraising events, or help raise awareness by supporting our Mental Health Awareness traveling exhibit.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray that each patient who comes to the Central DuPage Pastoral Counseling Center will receive the spiritual and psychological care that they need, regardless of their ability to pay for treatment. Pray that the staff will be able to continue to grow to meet the increasing needs in our community.
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Emmaus Ministries

EMMAUS works with male survivors of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in Chicago, aiding them in their journey into lives of restored purpose and wholeness. These men – who, through various negative life experiences, have come to believe this lifestyle is all that is available to them – often come to EMMAUS hopeless, feeling unseen, unheard, and uncared for. Through engagement, EMMAUS seeks to give them hope that God has a better plan, a specific redeeming plan for them. At their daytime drop-in center, EMMAUS staff and volunteers build relationships of trust with these men, working together to help them get off the streets. EMMAUS also works tirelessly on outreach and education of the community, hoping to prevent trafficking and exploitation before it even happens. First Pres Liaison: Jonathan Hancock
Learn more: streets.org

How can I get involved?

  • EMMAUS has several volunteer opportunities: Engaging with the men in relationships and service in the context of our Survivor Support Center or serving alongside EMMAUS staff doing outreach in the streets of Chicago. The Board of Directors always needs fresh and gifted servants; Prayer is a tremendous gift and need – for the strength of our staff and healing for our clients; And as always, providing funds is critical to enable EMMAUS to find vulnerable men and intercede on their behalf online, on the streets, or at our center.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for God’s gentle grace upon the clients of Emmaus as they continue to move away from life on the streets, and find growth, healing and protection from the challenges and struggles of daily life.

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ESSE Adult Day Services

ESSE (Ecumenical Support for the Elderly) mission is to provide adult day care options that promote the physical, emotional, spiritual, and well being for older adults and their families. Participants find companionship, purpose, structure, activities, enrichment, and assistance when needed at ESSE. There are three ESSE sites: the locations are Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, and Aurora.
First Pres Liaisons: Cherie and Read Boeckel
Learn more:
esseadultdaycare,org or contact Cathy Davit, the Executive Director at 630-260-3773

How can I get involved?

  • ESSE welcomes visitors to share a hobby, talent, or game with the participants.

Prayer Requests

  • Please pray for the families in need of respite as they care for their elderly loved ones as well as the ESSE staff and volunteers who lovingly provide activities and care for the participants.
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Refugee Mission Ministry | Exodus World Service

The Refugee Mission Ministry in partnership with Exodus World Service mobilizes the First Presbyterian Church of Glen Ellyn community to welcome and befriend refugees. They do this by educating the congregations and individuals about the plight of refugees, connecting volunteers with refugees through practical service projects, and empowering people to be champions for refugees. When refugees arrive in the U.S., they only have what they can carry. While refugees receive three months of help through a resettlement agency, starting over from scratch is daunting, both financially and emotionally. Volunteers can make a huge difference by providing essential supplies, food, and most especially, a warm welcome. First Pres Liaison: Lynn Day

How can I get involved?

Through FPGE Refugee Mission Ministry, in partnership with Exodus World Service, you can volunteer for the following:

Donate to a Welcome to America! or Household Care Package. FPGE Refugee Mission Ministry in partnership with Exodus World Service is in need of donations. You can donate to a Welcome to America! pack HERE!

  • Welcome to America! Pack: Donations are collected by the Refugee Mission Ministry team to provide a warm welcome and turn an empty apartment into a home through the donation and delivery of the basic household items needed for the bedroom, bath and kitchen. These items are collected and delivered by FPGE volunteers alongside the Refugee Mission Ministry Team. Great for small group service opportunities.
    • Service opportunities to volunteer include:
      • Donating NEW essential household items to set up a home for refugee individuals and families. You can donate to a Welcome to America! pack HERE!
      • Alongside team members from the Refugee Mission Ministry, volunteers help to set up the residence with the donated new items and then by welcoming the resettled refugee(s) upon arrival to their new home. Done-in-a-Day service opportunity. Great for families and FPGE Small Groups.
      • To volunteer to donate and/or help set up a residence please contact Bonnie or Steve Nelson
  • Household Care Pack: You can help to provide a refugee family with useful household supplies as they rebuild their lives in the U.S. Delivered by volunteers, these essentials provide families with extra support along with a neighborly visit that blesses refugees and volunteers alike. To donate and deliver a pack to established refugees please contact Christina Rees or Jeff West.
  • Volunteer as a New Neighbor or New Neighbor for Youth – Befriend a refugee, refugee family, or refugee youth by helping them to assimilate to their new community as you meet with them weekly for three months. This program is coordinated directly through Exodus World Service. Great for individual or group volunteer opportunities.
  • New Neighbor Program: Coordinated through Exodus World Service, volunteers will visit a newly arrived refugee family in Chicago once a week for three months. This is a hands-on way to “welcome the stranger” in our midst. Volunteers and refugees have the opportunity to build bridges of understanding, cross-cultural learning and friendship. Volunteers answer basic questions about life in the U.S., help refugees practice their English and introduce them to their community. To volunteer, please contact Em Griffin.
  • New Neighbor for Youth Program: Adult volunteers visit weekly for three months with an elementary or middle school student, coordinated through Exodus World Service and the child’s parents. Volunteers help increase academic skills and confidence through fun activities, and partner with refugee parents on how to support their child’s learning. Materials are provided. To volunteer, please contact Lynn Day.

Any questions? Please send to Lynn Day.

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Glen Ellyn Food Pantry

After more than 40 years operating at Grace Lutheran Church, the pantry now has its own home at 55 N. Park Blvd in Glen Ellyn. The Glen Ellyn Food Pantry  is an ecumenical endeavor of 14 area churches collaborating with the greater community to provide essential groceries and support to our DuPage County neighbors at risk of hunger.  In 2022 the pantry served 5,810 neighbors, including 47% children, and distributed over 850,000 lbs of food.  The pantry partners with other organizations, such as DuPage PADS, Bridge Communities, & GE Kiwanis, to reach more of our neighbors in need.  First Pres members are regular, long-standing volunteers! FIRST PRES LIAISON:  Marty Scatterday

How can I get involved?

Volunteer opportunities are changing due to the pandemic. Check the food pantry website for updates. Typical duties include:

The Glen Ellyn Food Pantry is looking for enthusiastic, flexible volunteers to help “Make Hunger History” in our community. The most urgent days/times are Monday-Thursday in shifts between 11:30am and 3:30pm. To learn more, call 630-469-6988 or email. Volunteer@GlenEllynFoodPantry.org.

Typical opportunities include:

  • Food recovery: Pick up and/or sort food donated by local grocery and retail partners or from First Pres food drives.
  • Client relations: Work with other First Pres members in the pantry helping clients make food choices that fit their needs, interest and lifestyle.
  • Donate food: Participate in First Pres-sponsored food drives or drop off food during pantry hours.
  • Donate funds – The pantry is 100% funded by private donations and grants.
  • Visit the food pantry website to learn about their capital campaign and to stay informed about what’s needed most.
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Glen Ellyn Walk-In Ministry (GEWIM)

Glen Ellyn Walk-in Ministry is housed at First United Methodist Church and was organized by Glen Ellyn churches in 1994 to provide short-term resources. The assistance provided varies depending on the need. It may include vouchers for gasoline, food assistance, prescription medication, car repairs, utilities, or other services. First Pres Liaison: Barb Rundell

How can I get involved?

  • The ministry is staffed by volunteers who assist persons who reside in Glen Ellyn or are referred by the Churches of the village. Volunteer hours are 10am-noon, Monday-Thursday.  We need more volunteers to work in our office assisting clients one morning per month.  Please consider joining us in this ministry to help the underserved in our community.
  • Gifts designated “Walk-In Ministry” are used to fund the program.
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Exodus World Service

Exodus World Service mobilizes the Christian community to welcome and befriend refugees. Exodus does this by educating churches and individuals about the plight of refugees, connecting volunteers with refugees through practical service projects, and empowering people to be champions for refugees.

During the past year Exodus has worked with First Pres Glen Ellyn to identify new Refugee families that needed the support at their time of arrival and identifying families that could benefit from the New Neighbor program. In partnership with First Pres Glen Ellyn, Exodus opened a walk-in center for refugees in Wheaton. This center provides after school programs along with space for language training, work and legal support, and refugee meetings to take place.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the wellbeing of refugees that come to the US, as well as those that are waiting in refugee camps around the world. Pray for more available, affordable housing here in DuPage County. Please pray for the continued support of our partners both financially and in staffing New Neighbor programs. Pray that God will find new ways to use our walk in center. Pray that our refugee families will feel Christ’s love through our ministry and the hands and feet of the volunteers.
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Our National Partners

Covenant Pathways/James and Joyce Skeet

James and Joyce Skeet have spent more than 20 years working to improve the lives of Native Americans in New Mexico and Arizona, and to share the gospel with them. Many are profoundly impoverished, both economically and spiritually. Helping people to provide for their physical needs allows James and Joyce an opportunity to address their spiritual needs as well, through authentic relationships and prayer meetings.  Working alongside people on the farm and talking with visitors, the Skeets often identify Native American experiences and find parallels in the Bible, and ultimately, they help people move from dependence to independence. 

First Pres provided funding to help the Skeets build an eco-friendly demonstration cabin that serves as a model of eco-friendly living; as housing and a meeting place for Navajo residents and farmers, church mission teams, homesteaders and other visitors who want to learn about the eco-friendly technologies used at the farm; and as a place to hold weekly community prayer services as the Skeets continue to build relationships of trust and find natural opportunities to share the Gospel. First Pres Liaison: Marj Dobleer

How can I get involved?

  • Experience life and work on the farm! The Skeets encourage First Pres members to visit and get actively involved with the farm, whether tending crops alongside local people, cooking for a group, praying with local people, or assisting in the myriad of jobs it takes to operate a working farm.
  • Fund supplies like seeds and COVID sanitation supplies.
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Ft. Peck Reservation in Montana

The Montana Mission is a family-friendly, intergenerational trip to the Ft. Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana. The Native American culture faces many challenges including socio-economic issues, educational support, employment, and the future of church leadership. We continue our years- long relationship with Macaicu and Red Eagle churches, understanding their issues, sharing in the native American culture and traditions and making new friends. The VBS week for the kids in Ft Kipp is an important tradition that everyone looks forward to. First Pres Liaison: Mary Clauss

How can I get involved?

  • Join First Pres on its annual mission trip July 13-20, We host Vacation Bible School, complete construction projects on the churches, and fellowship with our friends on the reservation.
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Our Global Partners

Living Hope for Children

Living Hope for Children (formerly known as Juna Amagara Ministries) was born at First Pres in 2004 to raise up and equip vulnerable children in Uganda with the tools they need to become leaders within their community. We empower their growth by providing a loving home environment, quality education, balanced nutrition, medical care, and spiritual direction. Today, with more than 700 children in the program in five communities, Living Hope for Children operates first-rate quality schools, medical facilities and evangelism outreach programs throughout Uganda. Many of the first kids in the program are graduating university as passionate, godly adults.

Vision: “To see orphans and other vulnerable children in Uganda achieve their full potential and impact there communities for Christ.” 

Mission: “We provide education, discipleship, and health services to encourage and equip orphans, vulnerable children, and their communities.” First Pres Liaison: Jeff Seifert

How can I get involved?

  • Child sponsorship: Many First Pres families faithfully sponsor children in the program, and have helped them grow into happy and fruitful adults.
  • Mission trip: Travel to Uganda to visit your sponsored child, help build, teach classes, share skills and live in community with other people living by faith.
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Partners in Mission (PIM) in Uganda

Partners in Mission (PIM) is an indigenous fellowship of brethren based in Uganda with a mission to partner with others to advance the Gospel for Christ. Through PIM-USA, First Pres has a longstanding and fruitful relationship with PIM that has been instrumental in building the Kamwenge Secondary and Vocational School (KSVS) and Good Shepherd Primary School in Kamwenge, Uganda.  At KSVS, students receive Christian discipleship, mentorship, and a strong education, and are graduating to become young adults who are building families and businesses, and are advancing and revitalizing the entire Kamwenge community. 

First Pres has helped KSVS build a kitchen, a dining hall on campus, and a three-story STEM Center. These facilities serve as a model of educational excellence not only in Kamwenge, but throughout all of Uganda.  Today, KSVS graduates are attending university, holding vocational jobs, and starting their own businesses. First Pres Liaison: Barb Retelny

How can I get involved?

  • The Fox and the Hound Bike Ride on August 3, 2024: During this beloved annual event, join fellow riders (experts and novice alike!) on a 55-mile bicycle ride beginning at First Pres and ending with a party at 2 Hound Red restaurant in Glen Ellyn. Riders will help raise funds for a new apartment building for the dedicated teachers at Kamwenge Secondary and Vocational School in Uganda. If biking is not your thing, volunteer along the route or sponsor a rider. Visit the PIM website for more information.
  • Become a Student Champion – A student champion helps cover the basic cost of a student’s tuition and essential living expenses. A champion impacts a student and his/her family, the school, the staff, and the entire community of Kamwenge. You can expect to receive yearly letters from your student, and you will have a chance to encourage them through your letters. Your recurring yearly gift of $480 provides support for a student at KSVS for a
  • Vision trips – Groups from First Pres visit Kamwenge to meet students and staff, and learn about Kamwenge Secondary & Vocational School as well as Good Shepherd Kindergarten & Primary School. There are opportunities to attend and take part in classes and various school clubs, worship with students and teachers, and visit university students on their campuses.
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Pioneers International in central Asia/Carolyn and James

This couple met in east Asia while working with an indigenous Muslim people group that populates the area as well as several central Asian countries. They now work among this group in central Asia. James developed a fruit-farming business (business as mission) which helps the local economy while giving him an opportunity to share the Gospel with employees. Carolyn ministers to the local people in an organic way … by being a friend, getting to know neighbors, offering a listening ear. She looks for opportunities to share the love of Jesus with her neighbors and often prays with them. First Pres contributed to a vital well that helps make the orchard sustainable. First Pres Liaison: Barb Retelny

How can I get involved?

  • Mission trip: The family welcomes visitors to witness their work.
  • Aside from financial support, the couple appreciates ongoing prayers for their mission.
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ReachGlobal/Tom and Dora Becker

Tom works with ReachGlobal to mobilize mission work among the 12 million marginalized Roma (gypsies) in Europe. Working with national partners, he facilitates the training and resourcing of Roma pastors. His main ministries include: mobilizing prayer, advancing research, creating awareness, facilitating partnerships, and coaching nationals. Dora works with ReachGlobal to lessen missionary attrition rate by providing care for missionary kids and their families. Her role includes pre-field training for missionaries, consulting missionary parents, providing resources, and encouragement. First Pres Liaison: Barb Retelny

How can I get involved?

  • Ongoing prayers for their mission.
  • Financial support.
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Frontier Fellowship/Dan McNerney

Of the approximately 8 billion people alive today, 3.4 billion (Joshuaproject.net) have never heard of Jesus. That reality compels Frontier Fellowship to engage the world’s least-reached places, supporting efforts to establish local Christ-movements that can proclaim the Good News of God’s Kingdom to their communities and beyond. Dan has been on staff with Frontier Fellowship for 27 years and has pioneered work in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. He is equally comfortable mobilizing North American churches and developing frontier mission initiatives overseas. He’s currently engaged in Middle Eastern mission initiatives, counsel, and mobilization for American churches’ missional practices, and bridge-building efforts with leaders and Muslim communities in the U.S. Recently, Dan assumed a new title of Senior Associate to help manage the growing number of new mobilizers for Frontier Fellowship.  Dan has become a valuable mentor to many of these younger staff. First Pres Liaison: Michelle Mote

How can I get involved?

  • Please pray for mission partners in the Middle East who face ongoing persecution and relentless
  • Gifts designated “McNerney” will be used for his support and his ministry’s most urgent
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Other Ways to Support Missions

Mission Trip Scholarships

First Pres is active in mission work, some local, some nearby, and some at greater distances from home. Trips can be costly when considering travel, meals and lodging expenses. We do not want this financial burden to defer congregants’ participation in mission trips that touch their hearts. 

Scholarship funds are available for these trips. For more details or to apply, contact the church office or one of the Missions Elders.

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ENGAGED Families and Children

We encourage families to serve Christ together. It’s never too young to teach kids to give back. They can work with their families on a variety of projects in the church. For ideas, contact, David Profitt, Director of Children’s Ministries.

How can I get involved?

  • VBS, Mission Trips, Volunteering – Encourage your kids to play together and serve together, whether in Vacation Bible School (doing service projects), Spark, TNT or mission trips to Montana or the Dominican Republic. Children entering 6th grade and older can volunteer with their parent or another adult at VBS, and/or on Sunday morning at Kids’ Church.
  • Exodus – Kids of all ages love to serve and welcome refugee families into our community.

ENGAGED Students

Experiences to serve God and to serve the world in his name are essential to watering and nurturing the seeds of faith we plan in students’ lives. Here are some examples, but we welcome you to contact the Student Ministry team to find the opportunity right for your family.

How can I get involved?

  • First Pres students also work on a variety of projects including for the Food Pantry, Outreach Community Ministries, and YMEN, where they help with construction projects on their property in North Lawndale in Chicago.
  • First Pres students have participated in all church mission trips – experiences that shape them forever.