In 1991, Bart and Marty Campolo founded a ministry called Kingdomworks, which merged with the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education in order to start Mission Year in 1997. Our first thirty team members served in Philadelphia under Bart Campolo and Oakland under Josh Kaufman-Horner. In the years since, we have also served in Atlanta, Camden, Charlotte (NC), Chicago, Houston, La Grange (GA), New Orleans, and Wilmington (DE).
Mission Year was then led by President Mohan Zachariah. Leroy Barber took on the role in 2006 and Shawn Casselberry in 2013. The program has grown and changed over its life. Initiatives like Mission Year Married, academic partnerships with Eastern University, Arts Teams, and our Urban Leaders programs have strengthened our scope and impact.
In 2011, Mission Year celebrated 15 years, recognizing that hundreds of team members have contributed more than 1.5 million hours of service in our communities. We continue on, eager to commit our energy and strength to the work of the Lord serving and sharing life with people.
- Relationships: Building deep relationships based on trust and respect with your neighbors, seeking practical ways to show Christian love.
- Diversity: Fighting homogeneity, resisting segregation and building bridges between dividing lines of race and class.
- Community Living: Sharing life in community with a supportive team of other Christians in an urban neighborhood.
- Community Service: Volunteering 25-30 hours a week at a social service agency that’s providing vital resources to the poor.
- Discipleship: Drawing close to God by spending time deepening your own walk with Christ and developing spiritual disciplines.
- Church Partnership: Supporting God’s work in the city by partnering with a dynamic local church that’s engaging the community.
- Social Justice: Seeking justice by learning to identify disparities in power and working creatively to bring resolution.
- Simplicity: Living life without excess to better care for your neighbors and the environment around you.
Philosophy of Ministry
- We are Jesus-centered in our theology and practice. (John 12:32)
- We believe in an incarnational & relational approach to ministry. (John 1; Phil. 2:5-7)
- We value the ethnic and cultural differences of the body of Christ. (Col. 3-11; Rev. 7:9)
- We believe that the neighborhood comes first. Therefore, we will seek the interests of our neighbors before our own. (Matt. 6:33; Phil. 2:3-4)
- We respect and partner with indigenous people, churches, organizations and neighborhoods. (Gen. 1:26-27)
- We seek to do justice and love mercy because Jesus’ special concern for the poor and oppressed. (Micah 6:8; Deut. 10:17-19; Deut. 15; Isaiah 58; Luke 4:14-21; James 1:27)
As followers of Jesus, Mission Year Team Members work to advance the Kingdom of God by loving their neighbors.
In this moment, how can I best love both God and people?
Statement of Faith
- We believe the Bible to be the inspired and authoritative Word of God.
- We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- We believe in the deity and humanity of Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, in His present rule as Head of the Church and in His personal return in power and glory.
- We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful men regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
- We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
- We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost, they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
- We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, with equality across racial, gender, and class differences
Imagine the city the way God wants it to be. No more poverty. No more injustice. Every person matters. Now imagine a handful of young people moving into a house in the city, working to make this a reality.
People who seek out their neighbors, learn from them, listen to their needs, and pray with them over and over. People who work hard to love others the way Jesus loves. People who stay long enough to become true friends.
Imagine those young people living simply, setting aside material comforts for the sake of spiritual growth and loving relationships.
Imagine that house becoming a safe place in the neighborhood where people see the gospel lived out, alive and available to all.
Imagine them discussing good books (they have no television), integrating faith with real life, learning how to get along, and embracing the values of the Kingdom of God. For a whole year.
Imagine each individual devoting each day to God, then going out to do what God says. Partnering with social service agencies and local churches who are working towards the same goal. Offering compassion and working for justice.
Can you see what happens? That household makes a difference in the neighborhood, and the neighborhood makes a difference in return. The living gospel transforms – or at least uplifts – everything and everyone it touches. The Kingdom of God advances.
Now, finally, imagine all of that a thousand times over, and you have the vision of Mission Year.
We hope to define ourselves by what we are for rather than by what we are against, so we at Mission Year have looked to early church history for common creeds that have been used for thousands of years by many different denominations. By defining our center, we hope to reflect the oft repeated phrase, “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.”
The first creed we subscribe to at Mission Year is the Nicene Creed, which was the first official doctrinal statement of the whole Church. Developed in the 4th century and adopted by the Council of Chalcedon in 451, it is the only creed accepted and used by all three of the major branches of Christendom: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant. As the most ecumenical of creeds, it is a good place for a non-denominational organization like Mission Year to start.
The second creed that we use to define ourselves at Mission Year is the Apostle’s Creed, which was developed between the 2nd and 8th centuries but reflects the theological formations of the first century Church. It has been the most widely used confessional statement in the Western Church for the past 1200 years.