LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

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City Mission Trip

THE MISSION

People often think of Los Angeles as a beautiful city with famous celebrities, huge mansions, and beautiful beaches. But hidden behind the wealth and success exists thousands of people living in a state of homelessness — and they live in a place called Skid Row. The streets of Skid Row exemplify the stark contrast between the wealthy and the poor, this gap being one of the greatest in the country.

When Next Step first began its partnership in Los Angeles, this is where we centered ourselves – directly on the streets. After many conversations with those living in Los Angeles and leaders within the organizations we partner with, we began to wonder: what if we could more effectively communicate the story of Skid Row to those who have never visited before?

This is where our partnership took a turn. We quickly became passionate about the ways your students can engage with these beautiful individuals and recognize the dichotomy, which exists in Los Angeles.

On the mission trip we will team up with incredible local organizations: the Union Rescue Mission, Hope Gardens, and Enrich LA. The Union Rescue Mission is a ministry that helps thousands of people get off the streets and build a new life through short and long-term services. Hope Gardens is an extension of Union Rescue Mission, and is an oasis of hope with transitional housing for women and children to carry each family from homelessness to independence within three years. Enrich LA is a community wellness non-profit organization that builds edible gardens in local schools, focusing on low-income and underserved neighborhoods of Los Angeles. As we partner with these incredible organizations, your students will learn about the city of Los Angeles and begin to understand homelessness as a concept.

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At the beginning of the week, you will meet and become friends with many individuals living in a state of homelessness. You will learn about the city in which these individuals reside. Stirring questions like: why are these individuals homeless? What is the story that has led them to this place? Why can’t they just get a job and buy a house? As the week goes on, you will also see and meet those who once lived in a state of homelessness and are now empowered in a life with a job, home, and renewed sense of Christ. Dignity and compassion will be extended to those you meet, as you live, breathe, and worship alongside the stories and lives of these individuals.

By the end of the week, our desire is that a holistic perspective of homelessness will be attained; that the gospel and hope of Christ will stand above any circumstance we encounter whether extremely similar or vastly different than the families we work with throughout the week. Share in the joy found from connecting with the many dynamic residents of Los Angeles and realize that while you may be physically and economically worlds apart, you are not much different from each other after all.

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

$349/person

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

TYPICAL WORK

 Construction  5%

 Community Activities / Immersion  20%

 Relational Ministry  75%

PAST PROJECTS

UNION RESCUE MISSION

URM is the largest Christian Mission in Los Angeles.  Located in the heart of Skid Row, URM has many opportunities and needs Next Step teams can fill.  Over the past years, Next Step teams have served in the men’s and women’s wings playing games, painting nails and having conversations with the residents.  Teams have also served meals in the kitchen, attended worship with the residents, and led trivia and ice cream events at the mission.

HOPE GARDENS

Union Rescue Mission’s Hope Gardens Family Center is a place where women can transition from homelessness to independence through their transitional family program.  The Hope Gardens Family Center not only has housed Next Step Teams in the past, but has also been a place where we have consistently served the physical and ministry needs of the program.  Students have done garden projects and small repairs on the secluded property as well as participated in worship, relational activities and programing with the families that live along-side the Next Step teams all summer.

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

UNION RESCUE MISSION

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Union Rescue Mission (URM) is dedicated to serving men, women, and children experiencing homelessness. They provide comprehensive emergency and long-term services to their guests to help them escape the dangerous streets of Skid Row.

URM is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established in 1891. Today, they are one of the largest rescue missions of their kind in the United States, and the oldest in Los Angeles.

HOPE GARDENS

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Union Rescue Mission’s Hope Gardens Family Center, located near the Angeles National Forest, offers mothers and children experiencing homelessness the safety, counseling, training, encouragement, and the real help they need to escape homelessness forever.

Union Rescue Mission’s goal is to move every precious mother and child off the streets of Skid Row and to the safety of Hope Gardens Family Center, where they can really get back on their feet.

ENRICH LA

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ENRICHLA is an Environmental Non-profit focused on adding edible school gardens to public schools. Their school gardens are inexpensive, promote community involvement, encourage respect for their delicate planet, act as outdoor classrooms, cheer up school campuses, help students build a good work ethic, and promote thoughtful and healthy eating habits.

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 Hope Gardens in Sylmar, CA. This facility is located about 40 minutes from downtown Los Angeles and the ministry is related to Union Rescue Mission. Guys and girls will be sleeping in separate areas and have separate storage and shower rooms. Since the sleeping areas are daily common areas at Hope Gardens, we must pack up our things each morning and lock them in a storage room before heading out to work. All valuables will be safe. Sleeping will be on the floor so please bring a twin air mattress and bedding.

TRANSPORTATION

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Van Accessible, Cars Recommended, GPS Recommended (Not Bus Accessible)

Smaller vehicles are recommended for this mission trip, as we will drive frequently through the city of Los Angeles. We also recommend bringing a GPS for each vehicle to help navigate. Many groups choose to fly and then rent vehicles for the week. The nearest airport is the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) located 40 minutes from our mission site.

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

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 – Beach Day! 
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