What We Do

We help you experience a city.

Living firsthand among the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of urban life is an irreplaceable experience. Our housing is located in the heart of their respective city, providing you with the opportunity to eat at local international restaurants and discover the delights of Salvadorian, Middle Eastern, Filipino, African–American, and other cuisine.

We help you learn a city.

There are unique issues and problems that each city faces. There are also unique and incredible things God is doing to foster and further His Kingdom in each city, through the indigenous organizations that operate on the front lines of urban ministry. You’ll learn what city dwellers face, and how to overcome challenging circumstances.

We help you help a city.

By offering your time, energy, and prayers, ministry sites are supported and built up to their full potential of service. You will be integrated into a variety of hands-on service opportunities to ensure that your time is spent supplying substantive help to God’s people in the city.

How We Started

In 1988, Ridge and Robanne Burns stepped out in faith to create an organization that would focus on building bridges from the suburbs to the urban centers in the United States.

The focus is on giving youth groups and churches a life changing short term urban experience.

“Center For Student Missions” started in Los Angeles, shortly expanded to Washington DC and Chicago, and today exists in 9 different US cities.

Our Mission

To provide an effective urban ministry experience that transforms lives, influences churches and communities, and honors Christ.

Our Vision

We envision an urban missions movement: a generation of God’s people equipped to lead, compelled to serve, and committed for a lifetime to the often-forgotten in their communities.


Core Values

We conduct ourselves at all times as ambassadors of Jesus Christ. We value our staff by training, developing, supporting, and recognizing them. We provide authentic benefit to the serving group participants. We provide authentic benefit to the urban ministries we serve. We raise funds with integrity and utilize the financial resources entrusted to us responsibly.

Copy of Serve

Our Promise

  • We will provide trained hosts that know the neighborhood, manage logistics, and allow you to freely serve with your students.

  • You will help communities thrive by engaging with our long-term partners to ensure that your service makes a real difference.

  • You will receive timely, efficient communication from the CSM staff so that you’re never left in the dark.

  • Your group will experience an environment of unconditional hospitality, respect, and acceptance by CSM staff and partners.

  • Your group will be connected to meaningful service opportunities - not busy-work. Our partnerships and ministry experiences are relationally based and focused.

  • We commit to prioritizing your safety. Our experienced team has built relationships, knows the area, and will keep you safe.

  • You will gain a new perspective of the people and culture of the city as you see where God is already at work and inviting us to join.


Statement of Faith

  • We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, 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 of our Lord Jesus 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 and in His person return in power and glory.

  • We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people 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; the saved unto the resurrection of life and the lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

  • We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.


Meet the Team

Get to know the City Service Misson team.