LEXINGTON COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA

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Rural Mission Trip

THE MISSION

South Carolina is known as one of the most beautiful regions in the country. Although made famous for its spring break beach destinations and southern hospitality, there are pockets of poverty tucked throughout the state.

Lexington, South Carolina is geographically located between sandy white beaches to the east, and rolling Appalachian Mountains to the west. Through incredible ministry partnerships, we have identified underserved and under-resourced families eager to work alongside the body of Christ towards the transformation possible in their community.

In 2013, Next Step was invited by a strong group of local churches and nonprofits to join in a holistic approach to ministry in the community of Belle Meade and surrounding areas. Here, families are not only struggling with physical limitations and deteriorating homes, but much emotional and spiritual darkness as well. The Nehemiah Project, Mt. Horeb UMC, LICS, EmmanuWheel, as well as the county police force, government, schools, and other local organizations are all invested. They had been invested for over five years prior to our initial arrival to the community working to build trusting relationships, assessing the needs, and creating a community vision of ‘others first, me second’.

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The desire is renewal. The desire is a changed view of neighbors.  The desire is trust.

The goal: that these desires lead to a visible change in the community physically, spiritually, economically, educationally, emotionally, and socially.

You will work with these families directly doing home repair and construction, both in Belle Meade and Happy Town, as well as developing relationships with organizations such as LICS and EmmanuWheel and the families they serve. We are humbled to continue investing in the vision laid out so beautifully in this community, a vision that leads to empowerment and sustainability within the families of this county.

This partnership offers a unique sense of community integration and development incorporated within your week of building relationships and working on construction projects. What we can assure you: your trip will not go to waste. Next Step is pouring into local leaders and organizations that will take the torch and continue to run after your mission trip is done. Next Step is thrilled with the long-term discipleship, follow-up and commitment from the passionate community of Lexington.

QUICK INFO

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DATES AVAILABLE

June 3-9 July 8-14
June 10-16 July 15-21
June 17-23 July 22-28
June 24-30 July 29-August 4
July 1-6**  

* Sunday – Friday Trip

  • Call for Availability on Crossed out Dates or for Winter/Spring Break Trips
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AGE GROUPS ALLOWED

  • Middle School Students 
  • High School Students
  • College Students

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TRIP COST

$419/person

*This includes all accommodations, food, work project materials and programming.

TYPICAL WORK

 Construction  75%

 Community Activities / Immersion  10%

 Relational Ministry 15%

PAST PROJECTS

ROOF PROJECT

In 2014 Next Step began working with a housing community in Lexington County. Many of these homes are in disrepair, with roofs being one of the biggest needs. One lady who is very active in the community was in need of a new roof as years of deterioration and wet pine needles made the asphalt shingles rot. As she helped with neighborhood VBS and community cookouts, a new roof was installed.

THRIFT STORE PROJECT

One of the solid partnerships Next Step has in Lexington County is with a local social services ministry. Part of their ministry is a thrift store that provides clothing and daily used items to families with limited funds. Next Step consistently helps with sorting the large amount of donations continuously being donated and sold through the store. Many small project are constantly needed, such as new storage shelving, facility upkeep, and cleaning.

MINISTRY CENTER

Next Step has a partnership with a local ministry who is creating a multipurpose ministry center in a donated house within one of the primary neighborhoods we work in. The hope is to have a safe location for community members to gather and fellowship. A full remodel of the home is in line for future work and has already been started. A new deck and handicap ramp were installed and the garage is being transformed into a multipurpose building that can hold classroom activities, meetings, and games.

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

MT HOREB UMC

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This church has extended their building as a home for all Next Step volunteers since the summer of 2014. A healthy and energizing partnership has been formed between Next Step and the Mt. Horeb staff and congregation. Eager to work alongside this community, Next Step has admired the dedication of this church and their desire to create transformation within the surrounding communities of Lexington.

CHRIST CENTRAL NEHEMIAH PROJECT

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The Nehemiah Project is a nonprofit organization that serves 500+ teenagers at Airport High School for no cost. This national pilot project is faith-based, interdenominational, student-led, and volunteer-driven. This organization represents a partnership with Christ Central Ministries and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The Nehemiah Project works directly in the public school system with a mission to prepare this generation of teenagers and families for success and significance as they provide hope and positive direction in each student’s life. This is accomplished through a holistic approach: meeting physical, emotional, social, psychological, academic, character, and career needs. We will be working alongside The Nehemiah Project this summer to establish and build relationships with teenagers and their families, as well as coming alongside the community in other various programs and projects.

EMMANUWHEEL

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The mission of EmmanuWheel is to provide wheelchair ramps and home modifications (widening of doors, lowering of sinks, door knobs, cabinets, etc.) to wheelchair-bound individuals who cannot afford the cost of such modifications. By addressing this specific need of wheelchair-bound individuals, it is the intention of EmmanuWheel to share the love of Christ in a practical way. EmmanuWheel hopes to create lasting life improvements.

WORSHIP

EVENING PROGRAMMING

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WORSHIP MUSIC
We’ve been told our worship experience is where summer camp meets mission trip. We put together bands from all over the country to lead your students in powerful worship every night. These talented and Christ-centered musicians will help show your students that worship can be fun, worship can be exciting, and worship can bring a joy they have maybe never experienced before.

CHALLENGING MESSAGES
It is our goal to bring your students closer to Christ this week. One way we do this is through challenging evening messages. Whether your students are new to the whole God thing or devoted Christians, these messages will help them understand Christ is alive and working in their lives today and a personal relationship with Him is available.

ORIGINAL VIDEO SERIES
Every summer we produce an original video series that coincides with the evening messages. This video series is our attempt to reach your students in yet another way with powerful stories of Christ in action. We’ve featured speakers such as Francis Chan, Shane Claiborne and Propaganda. You can watch some of our past video series in our Media Section. 

MYSTEP FOLLOW-UP

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MyStep is an online program solely dedicated to helping your students, your church, or your ministry take the next step in a commitment to Jesus Christ. Whether you just came back from a mission trip through Next Step, or you’re just looking for another way to strengthen your faith, MyStep is for you! We created a safe environment for students to explore the faith, and experience God in new and amazing ways!

Devo Stories are one of MyStep’s most popular features. We have over 365 short video story illustrations that show the many different ways God is working in our daily lives. Whether it’s a comical lesson about the consequences of stealing or a serious conversation about a parents’ divorce, these stories help students understand God in new and real ways.

Another feature is the Prayer Wall, which provides an open and anonymous prayer forum for anyone to share their praises and concerns, and be prayed for throughout the year. Know our team is praying for these requests.

Both of these features can be installed for free on your mobile device. Simply search for Devo Stories or Prayer Wall on your phone or tablet’s app store. This makes staying connected to God and each other easier than ever!

LOGISTICS

ACCOMODATIONS

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The trip is hosted at Mt. Horeb UMC. Guys and girls will be separated into different classrooms for sleeping arrangements. Sleeping will be on the floor so please bring a twin air mattress and bedding. There are bathrooms in the facility and a shower trailer on site with individual shower stalls. We eat and worship in the same space, so we welcome any help in changing over the space with tables and chairs each evening!

TRANSPORTATION

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This mission site is bus and van accessible. Some groups choose to fly and then rent vehicles for the week. The nearest airports are the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) located just 25 minutes away, or Augusta Regional Airport (AGS) located just one hour away from Lexington.

WHAT TO BRING

  • Twin Size Air Mattress
  • Bedding & Pillow
  • Water Bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellent
  • Towel
  • Toiletries
  • Swim Suit
  • Work Shoes
  • Work Clothes
  • Casual Clothes
  • Work Gloves
  • Safety Glasses
  • Hammer

WEEKLY SCHEDULE

SUNDAY (ARRIVAL DAY)

3:00-5:00 pm – Arrive to Mission Location
6:00 pm – Dinner
7:00 pm – Worship & Weekly Orientation
8:30 pm – Church Time, Small groups, Free Time
11:00 pm – Lights Out

MONDAY – THURSDAY (WORK DAYS)

7:00 am – Wake Up
7:15 am – Eat Breakfast & Lunch Preparation
8:00 am – Morning Devotional
8:15 am – Depart for Worksite & Begin Working
12:00 pm – Lunch & Devotion
1:00 pm – Resume Working
3:30 pm – Clean Up/Return
4:00 pm – Free time/Showers/Leader Meeting
6:00pm – Dinner
7:00 pm – Worship
8:30 – Church Time/Small Groups/Free Time
11:00 pm – Lights Out

FRIDAY (COMMUNITY / FUN DAY)

8:00 am – Wake Up 
8:15 am – Eat Breakfast & Lunch Preparation
9:00 am – Morning Devotion

9:15 am – Leave for Free Day Activity
4:00 pm  – Shower Time/Free Time/Leader Meeting
6:00 pm – Dinner

7:00 pm – Worship
8:30 pm – Church Time/Small Groups/Free time

11:00 pm – Lights Out

 

 

FAQS

Yes. Next Step Ministries exists to give middle school, high school, and college students an opportunity to explore their faith, experience God, and extend service to others on a mission trip. Students are our top priority and safety is always our primary concern. Thankfully, because of our long-term commitment and involvement within the community we have developed many close relationships with the locals. The community is familiar with Next Step and we’ve worked hard to humbly earn their trust and respect. Because of these close friendships we are the first to know if something out of the ordinary comes up or is unsafe. 

The trip lodging facility will always be locked to ensure safety. During the day, students will be serving at homes where Next Step has already visited the family and knows who they are. Furthermore, community members select these projects, so we can ensure they are safe places for us to be. This network of community friendships allows for Next Step to engage with the community in a way that is trusted and safe. 

On the first night of the trip, our staff will train and equip your team to understand safety on the construction work sites. If you’re interested in learning more about this, please visit our Construction Safety page.

We are more than happy to talk in more detail about safety on this trip. Please feel free to contact our office for further conversation regarding trip safety.

We are committed to never being in an area where we feel students are at a heightened risk to their physical, spiritual or emotional health.  However, we understand we are serving in a community where safety concerns surround us at a distance. For that reason, we have created Safety Procedures available for the main leader of your trip on the Trip Dashboard. You can access this information at anytime leading up to your trip.
Registration opens in July and will be available through early spring. To get your preferred dates, locations, and spaces it is recommended to secure your spots sometime before October.
For summer mission trips you must have a minimum of five participants to be eligible for a group. If you have less than five participants please contact our office. The maximum number of people will depend on location capacity and availability. Please call our office to learn more about the special requirements for spring mission trips.
Our office staff is available to help with this process. Please contact our office to learn more about how to reserve your spots. You can always add people to your group, as long as there is space available.
Next Step Ministries offers trips for middle school, high school, and college groups. Some trips are reserved for specific age groups and other trips are mixed ages. Please contact our office with your preferences and we will provide you with a list of available trips. Middle school trips are for students going into 6th, 7th, or 8th grade. High school trips are for students going into 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade. College trips are for ages 18-25.
Next Step Ministries asks for 1 adult for every 6 students.
Yes. Each church group is responsible for conducting background checks on all participants ages 18 or older.
Each location has a different max capacity, so please contact our office to learn more about spaces available. In the event that we are fully booked for the trip you are interested in, we can put you on a wait list or help find alternative trip options. To avoid these delays, we recommend registering for your trip as soon as you can!
$50 Deposit- 30 days after registration

50% Payment on March 15
Final Payment on May 15

The deposit is $50 per participant and due 30 days after online registration. The deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable. March 15 is the last day to cancel participants. Note, if you cancel participants prior to March 15 the deposit money will be lost. If you need to make cancellations after March 15, your church will still be responsible for paying the full fee for all participant registrations reserved. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact our office and we would be happy to discuss in more detail.

No, we do not affiliate with a particular denomination. Next Step Ministries is an interdenominational organization and we partner with hundreds of churches from all different denominations on our mission trips. Please see our Statement of Faith to learn more about what we believe. In simple terms, we stick to the basics of the Gospel. Our foundation for ministry is to provide opportunities for students to connect and grow in a personal relationship with Christ.
Next Step Ministries works alongside community leaders, non-profit organizations, and the local church in order to line up work projects. Next Step Partnership Coordinators live and serve within the community year round and are well connected. Next Step collaborates with the community to plan the projects you will be working on in advance.
Your group will learn about the work projects on the first night of your trip! Our staff will contact you 1-2 weeks prior to the trip to share updates in advance and provide an updated tool list. 
A Next Step Partnership Coordinator facilitates community partnerships, lines up projects, leads the summer staff, and coordinates other logistics such as lodging and accommodations. The trip will be facilitated by 8-10 energetic, mission-minded, and highly trained college interns. The site staff will include a construction team, worship team, speaker, meal coordinators, and administrative leaders to guide you through the week.
You will most likely be attending a trip with 2-4 other youth groups. All groups will share sleeping quarters and we will have meals and worship together as a large group. Most of our mission site locations can accommodate for 80-100 volunteers each week. For work projects, we love to mix students and encourage new friendships to form, but also understand that many groups prefer not to have their group split up for different work projects. Please let our office staff know your preference and we will plan accordingly to accommodate your preferences.

During the mission trip it is important that we make every effort to dress respectfully, modestly, and appropriately. We will be working hard serving in the community so it is best to wear old, comfortable, and modest clothes. Please understand there may be different cultural norms in the other partnering churches and/or community you are visiting for one week. While certain clothing may be acceptable in your hometown, it might not be appropriate for the mission trip.

Please review the dress code below and pack accordingly. If you have any questions, please contact our office at missions@nextstepministries.com or 608-514-4051.

  • Shirts: All trip participants should wear either a short-sleeve or long-sleeve t-shirt on the work projects. You may wear tank tops or sleeveless shirts in the evening during free time, dinner, and worship. Tank tops must be modest. Please note, no spaghetti strap tank tops or ripped/torn cut-off shirts. All sleeveless shirts must have a hem.
  • Pants/Shorts: All trip participants should wear modest pants or shorts at all times on the mission trip. Please adhere to the following rules:
    • Please be mindful of the length of your shorts. Follow the “fingertip length” rule to determine if your shorts are appropriate length. To do this, stand with your arms straight at your side and place your palm against the side of your legs. The length of your shorts should be at your fingertips or longer. Spandex pants/shorts are NOT allowed on the mission trip at anytime. This includes yoga pants or spandex athletic shorts.
  • Bathing Suits
    • Ladies must wear a one-piece swim suit or wear a t-shirt over a two-piece swim suit. Males must wear swim trunks that are long enough for the “fingertip length” rule mentioned above.

The trip cost is the same for students and adults. The cost covers all meals, materials, and lodging. The only cost not included is for transportation. You will need to provide your own vehicle for every day of the trip.
The trip begins on Sunday evening. Please plan to arrive between 3:00-5:00 pm. Our friendly staff will welcome you with dinner and help you unload all of your bags. The trip concludes Saturday morning after breakfast and clean up. Please plan to depart by 9:00 am. We are happy to accommodate your travel plans so please contact our office if you need special arrival or departure plans. Please note the July 17-22 trip is scheduled as a Sunday-Friday trip and will conclude Friday morning at 9:00 am.

Each trip participant should be sure to pack the following items: 

  • Air Mattress (twin size to be sure there is enough space for everyone)
  • Bedding & Pillow
  • Water Bottle 
  • Sunglasses and/or Hat
  • Sunscreen & Insect Repellent
  • Personal Snacks (i.e. granola bars, trail mix)
  • Towel and toiletries (i.e. soap, shampoo, toothbrush, etc.)
  • Work Shoes: an old pair of tennis shoes will work well 
  • Work Clothes: old t-shirts, athletic shorts, cargo shorts, or jeans all work well. Please be sure to review the dress code in advance. 
  • Casual Clothes: bring a clean set of clothes to change into after showers every evening. Plan to dress casually and comfortably! 
  • Personal work gloves, safety glasses, and hammer