Whether it’s the creativity from the music industry, or the constant research, studying, and discussions from the numerous colleges, hospitals, and healthcare corporations, Nashville is filled with energy and life. Having been voted No. 1 City in America for Business Relocations and Expansions by Expansion Management Magazine two years in a row, this city is booming with economic and industrial growth. And yet, with its southern hospitality, people still feel like they are visiting or moving to a small town.
With all the “success”, sometimes it is difficult to remember the contrasting side of Nashville. There are folks living off minimum wage in a city requiring twice that income to survive. We have a public school system trying to overcome its 40% drop-out rate. The chronic homelessness statistics are 20-30% higher than the national average. People are struggling, and not just to “make it big.”
Statistically, Nashville’s problems aren’t as extreme as some larger cities, but they are still a testimony to a number of people hurting. Jesus called us to be the hands and feet of Christ. Thankfully, there are a number of churches and non-profit organizations here in Nashville heeding that call. They have committed to serving those who are economically, physically, mentally, and/or spiritually poor and it is a privilege for our groups to be a small part of the ministry being done through them.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON YOUR TRIP
It is no secret that Nashville is an ever growing city. Between new apartments and businesses popping up over night, and a well known music scene, it seems like Nashville is the place to be! So when serving in Nashville you will see the new development as we talk about and see first hand the issues that a growing city faces.
We work alongside over 30 different organizations in the city and our desire is for each group to be challenged in their thought of what service and ministry looks like. There will be opportunities for your students to have a conversation with someone experiencing homelessness, throughout the school year we work with an after school program and during the summer we partner with summer camp programs; both of these service opportunities provide a way for students to spend time with children who call Nashville home. We also partner with several urban gardens in the Nashville area. These allow for conversations around food deserts and food insecurity. There will also be a chance to work in food distribution centers either by serving hot meals, or serving at a food bank.
Outside of serving with our partners your group will have the chance to experience our Prayer Tour, Urban Exposure, and (in the summer) Neighborhood Activity/Poverty Training. Each of these activities is designed to give your group the opportunity to see Nashville with the Lord's heart and eyes, to learn more about the history of our city, and to learn about current issues that people of Nashville are facing. We desire for students and leaders to be pushed out of their comfort zone in order to learn more about social justice issues, meet the people of Nashville where they are at, and experience the Lord's heart for all people.
Our heart is for each student and leader to see how the Lord is working in Nashville, while also challenging them to look back and think about how God is calling them to serve back home.
Meet the Directors
Kelsey grew up in a small town outside of Waco, TX. She has an amazing family that she loves spending time with. She first started working for CSM in the summer of 2017 and fell in love with the city of Nashville! After her first summer ended, she stayed on for the apprenticeship in which she grew and learned so much. CSM Nashville has provided so many different opportunities for her and opened so many doors. She has met so many amazing people, grown to love each of the partner organizations, and continually pushed and challenged in her faith through her time with CSM. She joined again as a host in Spring of 2019 and had the chance to guest host in many different cities. She is incredibly excited to take on this new position and continue to seek out ways to love the people of Nashville well! She frequents Chick-Fil-A, loves meeting new people, and takes pride in trying new coffee shops to find the best Iced Vanilla Latte! ✉
Lauren has Midwest roots from growing up in central Illinois but she moved with her parents to Georgia when starting college. She graduated from Georgia Southern University with concentrations in Psychology and Child & Family Development. She is now taking classes towards her Masters in Applied Psychology from Liberty University. Lauren's experience with CSM started back in summer 2012 when she went on a high school mission trip to Nashville. The experience created a ripple effect in her life as she found her heart for serving and understanding others. Fast forward to her junior year of college, she decided to be a city host in Nashville during the summer of 2017. After that summer she finished her last year of undergrad and prayed that the Lord would have her be ingrained back in CSM which is when the Associate Director position opened for Nashville. Lauren believes that CSM Nashville is a big part of her story and wants to continue supporting partnerships across the city and enjoys creating new ones. She is excited to use her creativity and knowledge of the city to create new immersion activities and materials that will provide students an urban exposure experience and challenge students to see the issues within their own cities in the hope that they will be the hands and feet of Jesus where they are. She enjoys listening to live music, having good conversations, and finding the best cup of black coffee!