The SOS Academy is a nine-month Christian Community Development residency in Memphis, TN, designed for 19-26 year olds who have a concern for those who are marginalized.

It equips young adults to inhabit underserved communities with a Gospel-driven lifestyle of justice and compassion toward their neighbors.

The Four Foundations for the SOS Academy

A significant focus of your time in the SOS Academy will be devoted to an internship placement with a partner ministry or organization.

You will work five-day weeks with one of our partner organizations where you will gain invaluable experience working in areas such as


  • community development
  • economic development
  • residential development
  • education
  • youth development
  • homelessness
  • job training
  • social enterprise
  • family & social services
  • holistic community care


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.


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.

The SOS Academy has partnered with the Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies (MCUTS) to provide intensive theological and ministry training through the MCUTS Certificate in Christian Community Transformation.


The MCUTS Certificate in Community Transformation equips church and nonprofit leaders and staff with the . . .
• biblical and theological framework
• community development and ministry best practices, and
• tangible skills

. . . to participate in this kingdom work.


Through the Certificate, participants will:
• Encounter God’s heart for the poor and marginalized in the Scriptures
• Explore biblical paradigms for poverty alleviation and Christian mission
• Learn strategies for moving beyond charity to empowerment
• Gain practical skills in asset-based community development
• Engage community transformation first-hand

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. 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.

Without the local church and the real-life stories of individuals, families, and communities who are seeking to 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 of 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 live in the 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.


We believe it is vitally important to be exposed to God’s Kingdom being brought forth all over the world. The SOS Academy takes an international vision trip every year to witness kingdom work somewhere else in the world.

  • This trip is required by all SOS Academy members.
  • We will travel abroad for approximately 10 days in February.
  • Each SOS Academy member will be responsible for raising $2,500 for the trip.
    • Instruction and coaching for support raising will be provided by SOS
    • Support raising will begin at the start of the SOS Academy (you are welcome and encouraged to start raising support before then!)

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are we looking for?

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


Each year we accept no more than 8 applicants for the SOS Academy. Participants come from around the country with a wide range of life experience. We are looking for applicants who desire to gain practical Christian community development experience while living in proximity to the marginalized in Memphis, TN.

How long is the Academy?

The SOS Academy is a nine-month Christian Community Development residency.

The SOS Academy begins in September and ends in May.

Is this a paid internship?

Yes! All interns will receive a monthly living stipend of $1000/month and housing is provided.

Where will you live?

A home within the Binghampton neighborhood will be provided, rent free. Residents, however, are 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.

When should I Apply?

The SOS Academy begins in September and ends in May.

The online application closes is April 15.

Acceptance into SOS Academy 2019-2020 will happen by May 15.

For more information please contact

Jake Wiig


Office: (901) 681-9044