LORAIN COUNTY, OHIO

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Rural Mission Trip

THE MISSION

In 2008, our country faced its greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Savings were lost. Jobs disappeared. Poverty swelled. This crisis has made an especially detrimental impact in Lorain County, Ohio.

Lorain County, a blue-collar working county located just outside of Cleveland, was built on the backs of steel workers and ship builders. However, as the industry dried up and jobs vanished, poverty set in. In 2009, Lorain’s poverty rate jumped by a third, claiming 33.7% of all county residents. Perhaps the most troubling statistic is that over half of Lorain’s senior citizens currently live below the poverty line. Many struggle to meet their basic needs such as food and shelter.

Next Step became aware of this problem when a local church and team of community leaders reached out to us as a means of partnership in revitalizing Lorain. A church and community already determined to bring life back to the streets of Lorain that were once alive. This began our journey.

OHIO-mission

We now partner with Neighborhood Alliance, Love Inc., and other local churches and organizations to do just that. Specifically, Next Step has partnered with Lorain County’s Neighborhood Alliance organization to help meet the home repair and construction needs of seniors in their community. Neighborhood Alliance has been compassionately caring for Lorain County since 1927, focusing on strengthening the community by helping low-income residents meet their basic needs. They deliver around 400 meals a day to Lorain’s senior citizens, provide daily shelter to many residents who are currently homeless, and provide childcare for over 100 children each day.

The families and senior citizens Neighborhood Alliance knows so well through feeding programs, are the same families we are referred to for home repair. But we quickly recognized that home repair is just a platform for the relationships we are able to form each week. Many residents struggle with feelings of isolation and loneliness. When they open their door for construction work to be done, we see it as an open door to show the love of Christ in a way that offers hope and dignity.

Other opportunities to learn and fellowship with this community throughout the week are: participating in a community scavenger hunt, a community cookout, Afternoon in the Park, community gardening, and serving with a local ministry one day of the week. Every person you meet, nail you hammer, and organization you work with, is an opportunity to come alongside the momentum taking place in Lorain. A momentum of renewal.

QUICK INFO

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DATES AVAILABLE

June 4-10 July 9-15
June 11-17 July 16-22
June 18-24 July 23-29
June 25-July 1 July 30-August 5
July 2-7*  

* 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

FLOORING PROJECT

As a large part of the community we serve with is elderly, many projects we do address handicap mobility issues. In the summer of 2013 we worked with an elderly man who was new to using a wheel chair. His entire home was carpeted making it difficult to be mobile when he was by himself. Volunteers ripped out the existing carpet, repaired sections of the subfloor, and replaced the flooring with a sturdy laminate that would allow for easy travel from room to room.

WHEEL CHAIR/PORCH/GARAGE PROJECT

In the summer of 2014 we began a partnership with an elderly man who was facing many challenges with fines from the city; Lorain cites people who have unsightly parts to their property. This gentleman had a porch and garage that were in disrepair with no way to fund the repairs. A new porch, handicap ramp, and garage remodel were completed over the past two summers, removing the once challenging fines.

WHEEL CHAIR RAMPS/ROOF PROJECT

In 2015 a couple contacted Next Step in regards to fixing two sinking concrete ramps and a roof with shingles that had been blown off. The ramps created a serious tipping hazard, as the husband is restricted to a wheel chair. Repairs by an outside organization had already been made to these wheelchair ramps, but were done poorly in the past. With the family, we were able to complete the two new ramps and roof successfully!

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

NEIGHBORHOOD ALLIANCE

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Neighborhood Alliance has a vision of creating and achieving genuine communities of inclusion and empowerment for all individuals. This organization serves Lorain County and its neighborhoods through: addressing basic needs, enhancing individual and family life, and improving neighborhoods and communities. These three goals are accomplished through specific community initiatives: child enrichment programs, family support programs, senior enrichment programs, as well as shelter and emergency services.

Specifically, Neighborhood Alliance delivers hundreds of meals each day to elderly residents all across Lorain County. They have built long-standing relationships with each resident and enter their homes on a daily basis. Neighborhood Alliance seeks to meet the physical needs of each individual as well, but are without the necessary resources.

Our partnership with Neighborhood Alliance comes in the form of choosing which individuals we work with for various home repair projects throughout the summer. The relationship Neighborhood Alliance has with these families and individuals, assures us that we are meeting true needs of the community.

LOVE INC.

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At Next Step Ministries we humbly acknowledge that in order to be a part of sustainable restoration in Lorain County we must collaborate with organizations working within the community year-round. We feel extremely privileged to partner with Love INC of Lorain County, an organization committed to mobilizing and facilitating the local church to transform lives in the name of Jesus Christ. Love INC operates under the Clearinghouse Model; hearing their community’s needs through their referral line and then producing sustainable solutions to be met by local churches. Through this process, community members are able to have their physical and spiritual needs satisfied as they experience the love of Christ from their own neighbors.

Next Step cherishes our partnership with Love INC of Lorain County because through this collaboration, residents of Lorain County can experience truly holistic ministry. Not only are families able to experience the love of Christ as they work alongside Next Step volunteers for the duration of a construction project, but they are able to encounter and grow in Christ’s love year-round as Love INC connects them to a local church.

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 Avon Lake Presbyterian Church. Here we will worship, eat meals, sleep, shower, and hang out! Guys and girls will be separated into different rooms 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. While there is no AC, there will be plenty of fans to help keep cool.

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 Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) located 27 minutes away, or the Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) located one hour away from Lorain.

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 Worksites in Rosedale
12:00 pm – Lunch & Devotion
1:00 pm – Resume Working
3:30 pm – Clean Up/Return to Community Center
6:00 pm – Dinner

7:00 pm – Worship
8:00 – 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 – Leave for Free Day Activity!
12:00 pm – Lunch and Devo
1:00 pm – Community Activities

3:30 pm  – Shower Time/Free Time/Leader Meeting
5:00 pm – Community Cookout

7:00 pm – Worship
8:00 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