SOS 30 Years - Second Guest Post

SOS: faithful for 30 years. I don’t know everything about the Lord, I’m not a master of theology, and in most cases, God’s plan is very incomprehensible to me.

But I’ll tell you what I DO know.

Jesus decided to take the full expanse of the law and what he cared about most, and put it into two commands for us.

The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. -Mark 12:29–31

As a child growing up in a Christian home, to eventually becoming a pastor, I’ve gone on many mission trips and been involved in many local ministries. One of my favorites BY FAR…is SOS.

The reason why? SOS builds (no pun intended) its mission behind verses like Mark 12: 29-31.

Jesus revealed in these verses that our love for God should find its expression in practical terms. We love God with our whole person:

  • spiritually (“with all your heart, and with all your soul”)
  • intellectually (“with all your mind”)
  • physically (“with all your strength”)
  • socially (“love your neighbor as yourself”)

I have led a trip full of high schoolers for the past 3 years. I can tell you first hand, all of those things are put into play during your time at SOS.

From hearing the Word taught, from worship through songs, from small group interaction, from fellowship with other believers, from sharing your faith, to serving others, you have MANY opportunities to love the Lord “with all your heart and soul.”

From engaging and thinking about Scripture, to learning physical skills needed to serve others, you have MANY opportunities to love the Lord “with all your mind.”

From waking up early and going to bed on-time, from eating meals in fellowship, to doing manual labor to restore broken things, you have MANY opportunities to love the Lord “with all your strength.”

From getting to meet and spend time with other campers, from getting to share your faith with people in the community, to working on someone’s house who really needs help, you have MANY opportunities to love the Lord by “loving your neighbor as yourself.”

As a pastor, I am extremely thankful for the ministry of SOS.

I’ve seen high school students come to know the Lord through the faithful teaching of God’s Word. I’ve seen students practice compassion in ways they never have before and it changed them. I’ve seen home owners share the gospel with my students and encourage them. I’ve watched year after year, the SOS staff love and serve my students beyond their job description. I’m telling you, God is glorified.

As a Memphian, I am extremely grateful for the ministry of SOS.

There is so much good in this city. There is also so much broken in this city. SOS is a ministry that works extremely hard to celebrate the good while working tirelessly to restore the brokenness of this city. Memphis is a greater city because of the ministry of SOS. God is using the staff, the students, and the community to see His will done “on earth as it is in heaven.”

For all of these reasons, I hope SOS never shuts its doors and the ministry grows uncontrollably. I haven’t found many better ways to spend a week of my summer than do serve at SOS. My hope is that more would come to find this as well.

Thank you SOS for imitating Jesus for the past 30 years.

“May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace…both now and forevermore. Amen.” (Numbers 6)


Brady Johnston