Partner Directory

Reach Beyond Mission

Contact Info

Rev. Mary Lu Johnston, Executive Director
Austin, Texas

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Reach Beyond Mission is a fully planned youth mission/poverty education experience.  Youth join youth from other churches across the country to explore issues of culture, gender, and poverty in an urban setting.  Participants volunteer at numerous metropolitan area non-profits working with the homeless, low-income families, children, people with disabilities and the elderly. Summer mission week focus on food justice, housing, or advocacy.

We provide speakers, age-appropriate activities, and discussion starters to help young people explore the biblical, theological, economic, social, and political issues related to poverty. Our goal is to help youth begin to explore how to spend a lifetime changing the systems that sustain poverty with their votes, through their career choices, and with how they spend their money.

We can partner with a specific service organization to provide a poverty education/mission week for youth onsite. To learn more, visit us at and follow us on Facebook!

Sample Schedule for Work Groups*

Note: This is just a sample. Every Reach Beyond Mission week is a little bit different. Programs vary per city. We adjust our weeks to the age and experience of the registered participants. We do not include a “night off” in our mission weeks. Since our program ends early on Friday morning, we hope you will plan to spend Friday enjoying our cities!

Time will vary. Continental style: cereal, yogurt, fruit!

After Breakfast
Prepare sack lunches.

Morning Prayers
Time will vary. Just after breakfast, we’ll take time to focus on who and whose we are during morning prayers. We may pray as community, in small groups, or individually, but each morning prayer time will have a directed theme to begin our day with a spiritual focus.

Depart for Service Sites
Time will vary. Small groups depart for service sites. Traveling directions, service site expectations, and contact information are provided. Service sites might include preparing and serving meals for the homeless; sorting and packing donations in a food bank; building or improving low-income housing; working with children of economically disadvantaged families; and working with fixed-income senior citizens. Programs for older youth may include home repair.

Return from Service Sites
Time for showers, rest, hanging out.

Afternoon Activity or Service Site
On days when the service site ends at noon, there is usually an activity or another service site.

Participants may help prepare dinner.

Guest Leader or Learning Activity
Each evening there will be an age appropriate learning opportunity. This might be a simulation game, or it might be a visit from a teen-friendly expert who will lead a discussion on a big topic or share about his/her service vocation. Guest leaders may include professionals who work in areas of homeless ministry, poverty, urban research, immigration, advocacy, and culture/ethnic issues.

Small Group Discussion and Worship
Each evening will include an age-appropriate Bible based discussion on justice issues, concluding with a youth-planned and led worship.*

*PLEASE NOTE: Our staff will lead worship on Sunday evening. Your youth and leaders will plan and lead worship throughout the week. Although we provide a justice-based discussion guide, your adult leaders will lead the evening discussion groups so that discussions may be focused to meet your group’s needs and theology.