Guest blogger, group leader and coordinator, Blue Berner has been serving for five years as the Senior Pastor of a small country church in Cutler, IL and previously served as a Youth Pastor in Anchorage, AK and Spokane, WA. Blu is originally from upstate New York and grew up outside Orlando, FL. He attended his first World Changers project in Nikiski, Alaska in 2004. Blu has been involved in over 10 projects and has most recently served as the Project Coordinator for Philadelphia. Blu is married and father to one son and two daughters that all know the World Changers song AND movements. He thinks he is superman and has publicly offered to treat anyone who registers for Philly next summer to a good ‘ol Philly cheese steak. We suggest you take him up on his offer!
Why World Changers?
One question I’m often asked is “Why?” My church family in Southern Illinois asks why I go so far away to serve. When I return and share pictures and videos of the trip, they want to know why I go into such bleak areas. When I am at a World Changers project, people in that city repeatedly ask, “Why did all of you come here?”
For me, the answer has changed over the past nine years. I first took students to World Changers because there were no camps or events in our area. This was an opportunity for them to do something different. I had never done this type of trip—it was new for all of us. By the end of the first week, I met a family with a little girl the same age as my daughter. Talking to her, I realized that she didn’t know the words to Jesus loves me. More importantly, she didn’t know that Jesus really did love her. At that point, my “why” changed. The people whose homes we work on may not have ever heard that Jesus loves them. We bear that good news and cannot be silent about sharing it. This is at the root of World Changers’ existence.
Another reason I am excited to go each year is because of the students. As Group Leaders within our churches, we are called to raise a generation of believers that are not only willing, but also prepared to go and make disciples. (See Matt. 28:19.) I have become close friends with many of the students, Summer Staffers, and Group Leaders at World Changers projects. Nothing is more satisfying than witnessing a change in a student’s heart during a project. It is encouraging to see a student continue to share their faith even after they leave.
I have witnessed students going to Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Guatemala, and Peru. Would they have gone to these places if they hadn’t first become a World Changer? Possibly. I am convinced, however, that the time and effort we invest in them as Group Leaders and Pastors in the World Changers experience gives them the confidence they need to go. When someone asks a World Changer “Why,” they are prepared to share the hope that they have because of Christ Jesus.