Need a break from the books? Ready to apply what you're learning in service to others? Trying to discover God's purpose for your life? Each year, hundreds of students choose to step out in faith and take a semester or an entire school year out to serve others full-time. It's challenging, faith-building, and life-changing.
If you are a student at a Seventh-day Adventist university, your first step is to talk with your Chaplain or Student Missions Director. They will guide you through the process of finding a place to serve and applying through Adventist Volunteer Service (AVS). They also usually provide support with fundraising, loan deferment, scholarships, training, and travel arrangements. Outlined below are the basic steps of the process, but your Student Missions program may include other important steps.
The main qualifications to serve as a volunteer through AVS include:
- Being between the ages of 18 and 79.
- Being a baptized member in good standing in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
- Financially able to serve without compensation other than a small living allowance.
Other important things to consider are included in the Qualifications section of the AVS website.
You can search for calls any time during the process. It's helpful to keep track of the call ID numbers so you can add them to your call list when you start your online application.
TALK TO YOUR MISSIONS DIRECTOR
Contact your Chaplain or Student Missions Director in your spiritual life or campus ministries office. They can help guide you through the process of finding a call, applying with AVS, fundraising, travel arrangements, training, loan deferment, and even scholarships.
SUBMIT ONLINE APPLICATION
To begin an online application, you will need to create an account and log in to the Adventist Volunteer Service website. Make sure to add your university as your "Sending Organization."
The following documents and forms need to be completed and turned in to your Student Missions Director. If you choose to attach them to your application, please let your Director know.
- Resume or C/V
- Release of Liability (or Self-Funded Release of Liability in some cases)
- 3 References
- Health Clearance
We ask all of our student missionaries and long-term volunteers to complete a background check and child protection training through Verified Volunteers.
The steps are outlined below:
- Go to www.ncsrisk.org/Adventist
- Select your home Union and Conference.
- Create a username and password, then enter information. Be sure to list your full legal name.
- When prompted to "Please select the primary location where you work or volunteer," select your home church.
- When asked if you work in another location, please select no.
- When prompted to select your role, choose "AVS Volunteer."
- You will be redirected to the training website. Complete the training and then you will be prompted to complete the background check.
PASSPORT TO MISSIONS TRAINING
A missions orientation training based on the book Passport to Missions is required for all our Student Missionaries and volunteers serving outside of the United States or Canada. Check with your Student Missions Director to find out if this training is offered on your campus. If not, you may enroll in the free online Passport to Missions course. You will find information on enrolling on the homepage of your online application. With this option, you may complete the course at your own pace, but it must be finished by the final date of your cohort.
SCREENING & APPROVAL
Once you have completed your application and training, your Student Missions Director will approve it on the AVS database. Next, it will be reviewed by staff here at the Office of Volunteer Ministries. If any follow-up is needed, we will work with your Student Missions Director who will be in contact with you. When this step is complete, we will vote to approve you as a volunteer at our weekly Appointees Committee. You will receive a notification email that you have been approved. In the unusual case that you are not approved as a volunteer, you will be notified by your Student Missions Director.
APPLICATION SENT TO
Next, your application is sent to your first-choice call. The mission organization has about two weeks to consider your application, although sometimes they take more or less time. You or your Student Missions Director are welcome to contact them during this time to ask any questions you may have about the position. Once the organization has made a decision, they will accept or deny your application on the AVS database, and your Student Missions Director will be notified. If accepted, you will move to the next step. If denied, your application will be sent to your next choice.
After you are accepted by a mission organization, there is one more final assignment vote. Your Student Missions Director will then be notified, and you can begin preparing for your trip.
TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS & INSURANCE
If you are serving internationally, work with your Student Missions Director and your mission organization to work out your travel arrangements, including:
- Airline Ticket
Please send your airline itinerary to Andrea Keele as soon as possible so your insurance can be arranged.
INSURANCE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENT MISSIONARIES
For Student Missionaries and volunteers serving outside of the U.S., you will be covered by Adventist Risk Management's Accident and Illness for Volunteers (ASV) plan. For more information on what is covered and who to call for travel emergencies or medical treatment, review our Medical Emergency page.
INSURANCE FOR DOMESTIC STUDENT MISSIONARIES (TASK FORCE)
Student Missionaries serving in the U.S. are covered by Task Force insurance through Adventist Risk Management. This is purchased by your the organization where you will be serving. More information on the Task Force insurance can be found on the Adventist Risk Management website.
Most volunteer positions cover the expense for accident and sickness insurance for volunteers which is required for all Adventist Volunteer Service volunteers, although a few ask the volunteer to cover this expense. Most also provide a small living allowance and accommodations, but most do NOT pay for travel to the mission location. Funding for travel or other mission-related expenses is the responsibility of the volunteer in cooperation with their college or university mission program.
Returning as a Volunteer
If you have served through AVS in the last two years and there have been no changes to your health, you will only need to submit the following for your re-application (whether or not you return through your university):
- Online Application
- Resume (optional, but helpful)
- 1 Reference
Incomplete or unsbumitted applications with no updates or communication may be "Inactivated" three months after the application was first submitted. To reactivate your online application, please contact your SM Coordinator or Benjamin Speegle.
- Married couples need to have been married for at least one year before serving. If it has been less than a year, more screening steps will be necessary.
- Married volunteers are allowed to serve only three months if their spouse is not able to accompany them, per Church policy.
- In the event that a spouse will accompany the volunteer as a dependent spouse (he or she is not a voted volunteer), the following forms need to be completed by spouse and included with volunteer's forms: