About Be The Tool
Be The Tool’s mission is to provide opportunities for adults to share the love of Jesus Christ in a tangible, hands-on way by coordinating service/mission trips to areas affected by natural disaster, economic oppression, or other need.
In other words, we set up service trips (also known as “mission trips”) for your group or team to participate in. These can be trips that are already scheduled that you jump into, or we can set things up specifically for your team. Tell us when and where works best for you.
Once you contact us stating your interest we hop to it, matching your skills, interests, heart, and desire to a work project. We will supply you with some training materials for your team and we will attend one of your pre-trip meetings. If you’re not too far out of our headquarters, we can come in person. If not, we will ask to set up a video conference (either with Skype, Google Hangouts, or Zoom). Typically, we will meet you in the city you are serving in, arrange lodging, meals, work assignments, provide day to day leadership and help coordinate other cultural activities in your host community as desired. We will also have a construction coordinator to oversee the work. Some teams also express interest in having us coordinate their travel arrangements. We can do this, but there is extra cost.
What We Believe About Service
If you feel called to go on a trip with us, you should probably come. If you’re not, you probably shouldn’t. (reference Jonah – If you don’t do what you are called to do, you end up as fish vomit.)
Jesus was talking to a group of people and he separated them into a group on the right and called them sheep. He said they did a good because they gave food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, attention and time to people sick or in prison. We believe that fulfilling material needs for people is what God wants us to do. We believe some people are called to standing on a corner and share God’s love verbally, but that’s not us. We share God’s love by meeting material needs.
We serve others without expectation about the response. There are no strings attached. It is important to us that we serve in communities in ways that do not encourage or promote a culture of dependence or otherwise hurts the community in the long run. We believe the best way to do this is through partnerships with local community agencies or churches.
In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Rod was attending a small and struggling United Methodist Church in Inver Grove Heights. That church was in conversation with four other United Methodist Churches who were also small and struggling, about combining resources such as personnel and programming, etc., so that all five churches could stay afloat. When Katrina hit, Rod asked his pastor if in the discussions about partnering, if anyone was talking doing a joint mission trip. That pastor said there had been talk, but nobody wanted to put it together. Rod stepped up immediately and began recruiting a team to head down to the Gulf to volunteer. That group of five churches was known as the River Bend Church Consortium, and so the mission team became known as the River Bend Mission Team.
River Bend Mission Team’s first trip was in April of 2006 and went to Biloxi, Mississippi. (We decided that since New Orleans had been getting all the press, we would volunteer in Mississippi.) There were fifteen people on that first trip. Since then there have been trips to Biloxi, MS, Gulfport, MS, Slidell, LA, New Orleans, LA, Minot, ND, Mason City, IA, and Crisfield, MD. Rod counted about 120 volunteers, and worked on over seventy-five houses.
Then in 2013, one of the repeater volunteers came into a chunk of change he was able to throw at the project and said, “Let’s take this thing to the next level (or two)” and Be The Tool was born.