On the surface, it might be hard to see what’s extreme about Extreme Faith STL. Though the name might have you picturing skateboards, BMX bikes and elbow pads, Extreme Faith is more about risking hearts for the gospel than life and limb. Kevin Mennel, director of Extreme Faith, sat down recently with Send Me St. Louis to talk about what Extreme Faith is all about.
Located in the Carondelet Park neighborhood of St. Louis, Extreme Faith is a ministry of mutuality. In the words of their mission statement, “Extreme Faith exists to equip and empower people through service, education, and leadership to take the next steps to positively change their lives, their communities, and the world.”
Under their service model, there is very little distinction between who is “served’ by the ministry and who is doing the “service” – everything comes around in the end.
In the 18 months that Extreme Faith has been in Carondelet Park, Mr. Mennel has seen the congregation at St. Trinity Lutheran Church move from viewing those served through Extreme Faith as “clients” to “friends and neighbors.” Students in the Extreme Faith after school program were included as family by members of the congregation. And those students have been quick to return the love they’ve been given – when the January 5th, 2014 snowstorm slammed St. Louis with 10 inches of snow, students called to ask permission to dig out the widows and others in the congregation on their day off of school.
Although being good neighbors may not seem extreme on the surface, the scope of Extreme Faith’s work powered only by volunteers is nothing short of astounding. This year, Extreme Faith will welcome 500 short-term missionaries over 10 weeks this summer. And rather than paint walls, pull weeds and move on, Mr. Mennel and his team will be helping their work crews build a true relationship with the neighbors they serve – from school kids to seniors and everyone in between.
“We strive to keep everything mutual” says Mennel. “Whether you’re a worker painting a wall or a resident hosting a work crew, your work is the same: to multiply the gospel and to share the skills and wisdom you have with other people.”
Though young in its ministry, Extreme Faith’s focus on assets and sharing has led them to many fruitful partnerships within the St. Trinity congregation, the city, and around the country.
Loving God and loving neighbors – Extreme faith’s leadership, volunteers and neighbors are doing all they can to follow after the footsteps of their original radical, Jesus Christ.
Contact: Kevin Mennel, firstname.lastname@example.org