The SOS Academy equips young adults to inhabit under-served communities with a Gospel-driven lifestyle of justice and compassion toward their neighbors.

How do we do this? Through an 8 month residency in Memphis, TN,
designed for 19-26 year olds who have a concern for those who are poor, marginalized or unreached.

The Four Foundations for the SOS Academy

Our guiding texts are John 1:14 and 2 Corinthians 8:9.


We live in a transient, isolated and disconnected age. In the power of the Spirit, we seek to overcome these cultural tides and embody the life of our Lord Jesus who established the pattern of incarnation when he laid down his heavenly comforts, moved into our neighborhood and sought our advantage.


As an Academy resident, you will dwell in the historic neighborhood of Binghampton where SOS has partnered for over 30 years and where we own four houses for our Academy residents. We believe the best classroom for the Academy is for our residents to live life in the neighborhood where you will experience the ebb and flow of inner city life among neighbors who span a broad social, racial and economic spectrum. The SOS staff and extended family will offer encouragement and accountability as you seek to be not just residents, but compassionate and justice-minded neighbors, revealing the counter-cultural life of the kingdom of God.

Our guiding texts are Philippians 2:12 & Romans 12:1-2.


We are called to love the LORD our God with our heart, soul and mind, work out our salvation and to renew our minds in truth rather than the patterns of the world. As part of a holistic approach to discipleship in the urban context, the Academy will traverse a Biblically-grounded landscape toward greater wisdom and understanding as followers of Christ. We will read, study and reflect upon a curriculum of supplementary books on the subjects of urban ministry, spiritual formation, justice and missions and the local church. In the past we have studied writings such as Generous Justice by Tim Keller, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, Restoring At Risk Communities edited by John Perkins, Compassion, Justice and the Christian Life by Bob Lupton, Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller, Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannen and The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer.

Our guiding texts are Philippians 3:17 & Hebrews 10:24-25.


Without the local church and the real life stories of individuals, families and communities who are seeking the live the life of the kingdom for the good of Memphis, the Academy would not have much to stand on! One of the greatest assets for the SOS Academy are these people – the very ambassadors of the kingdom who are seeking the shalom of this city for God’s glory. You will get acquainted with Christian individuals and families who have strategically chosen to live in an inner city neighborhoods of Binghampton, the Heights and Orange Mound as well others who are proclaiming the good news of the kingdom among unreached nations. Through mentoring relationships, neighborhood events, family dinners, and partnership with local churches, interns will interact with these families on a personal level and learn from their faith and experiences.

Our guiding text are Jeremiah 29:4-7 & Colossians 3:17,23.


A significant focus of your time in the Academy will be devoted to an internship placement with one of the neighborhood ministries or organizations which is seeking the welfare of the city. For four days each week you will work with one of our partner organizations where you will gain invaluable experience working in areas such as community development, economic development, public education, urban youth development, homelessness, refugee resettlement, ESL, job training and social enterprise. We have internship opportunities with kingdom-minded non-profit and for-profit organizations and businesses where you can leverage your own education and experience in every good endeavor and learn how to be a productive, compassionate, justice-minded and gospel-driven team-member in the work environment.


In the past, interns have worked with organizations such as Eikon Ministries, Binghampton Development Corporation, Christ Community Health Services, Cornerstone Prep,Memphis Urban Farms, World Relief, Su Casa and with us at Service Over Self.


We will also devote attention to vocational discovery and personal leadership development in order that you may further leverage your education, energy, experiences and gifts to be fruitful for God’s kingdom and glory in your vocation and relationships beyond the Academy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Apply?

Christian men and women who are 19-26 years old.

Who comes to the Academy?

Each year we accept no more than 10 applicants for the SOS Academy who come to Memphis from around the country with a variety of educational and practical experiences and varying levels of history with SOS. Applicants desire to gain practical urban ministry experience as disciples of Jesus while living incarnationally in a low-income urban neighborhood in Memphis, TN.

How Long is the Academy?
  • The SOS Academy is an eight month long residency.
  • The SOS Academy begins in September and ends in April.
  • Deadline to apply for the next SOS Academy year is July 1st.
Is This a Paid Internship?

All Academy residents will recruit a team of ministry partners who will financially and prayerfully support the ministry of the Academy residents. From this support, each resident will receive a monthly stipend.

What about Support Raising?

We establish a fundraising goal of $11,000 for the for each Academy resident. Of this money, $3,000 will be applied toward an international vision trip and the remaining $8,000 will be paid out on the 15th & 30th of each month. We will provide coaching and resources to aid in the process of recruiting a team of ministry partners.

Where Will I Live?

A home within the Binghampton neighborhood will be provided, rent free. Residents, however, be responsible for normal expenses such as utilities, internet, and lawn care. Each resident will share a home with 1-3 other residents, depending on the house.

What about SOS Summer Staff?

The SOS Academy residents are encouraged to participate on SOS Summer Staff before and/or after their Academy residency.
If an Academy resident opts to work on SOS Summer Staff, he or she will be hired and paid like other SOS Summer Staff applicants.

How Do I Apply?
  • The SOS Academy begins in September and ends in April.
  • Deadline to apply is July 1st.
  • After you submit your application, have at least one of your references fill out the SOS Academy Confidential Reference Form.
  • For more information please contact
    • Jake Wiig
    • Email:
    • Office: (901) 681-9044