Need a break from the books? Ready to apply what you're learning to serve others? Trying to discover God's purpose for your life? God can use you wherever you are if you're willing to trust Him and say YES to His call! Each year, hundreds of students choose to step out in faith and take a semester or an entire school year 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 talking with your campus Chaplain or Student Missions Director. They will guide you through the process of applying and finding a place to serve. They also usually provide support with fundraising, loan deferment, scholarships, training, and travel arrangements. Below is an overview of the basic steps, but your Student Missions program will include other important steps.
The main qualifications to serve as a long-term volunteer through AVS include:
Other important things to consider are included in the Qualifications section of the AVS website.
- Being between the ages of 18 and 79.
- Being a baptized member in good standing of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
- Being financially able to serve without compensation other than a small living allowance.
As you begin this journey, it's important to spend time in prayer, and ask friends and family to pray with and for you too. Ask God to prepare your heart for service and guide you through the process.
Even if you are not yet sure, you can always contact your Chaplain or Student Missions Director in your Spiritual Life or Campus Ministries office. They can help guide you through the process of deciding whether or not to go, finding a call, applying with AVS, fundraising, travel arrangements, training loan deferment, and even scholarships.
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.
*Self-Funded Release of Liability in special cases.**References can be sent electronically through AVS online application.
- Resume or C/V
- Beneficiary Information
- Release of Liability*
- 3 References (one should be from a pastor or elder)**
- Health Clearance
We ask all of our applicants to complete a criminal background check and child-protection training through Adventist Screening Verification. The steps are outlined below:
- Go to www.ncrisk.org/Adventist
- Select your home Union and Conference
- Create a username and password, then enter information. Use full legal name.
- When prompted to "Please select the primary location where you work or volunteer," select your home church.
- When prompted to select your role, choose "AVS Volunteer."
- You will be redirected to the training website. Once you have completed the training, you will be prompted to complete the background check.
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.
Once all is complete on your application, your Student Missions Director will approve it on the AVS database, and the Office of Volunteer Ministries will review it and work with your Director if anything is missing. Next, we will vote to approve you as an NAD volunteer at our weekly Appointees Committee, and you will receive a notification email of your approval. In the unusual case that your application is not approved, you will be notified by your Student Missions Director.
After the approval, your application is sent to your first-choice call. Mission organizations are encouraged to contact you and make a decision within two weeks, but they may take longer. If they accept your application, it will move on to final approval. If they deny, we will check with your Student Missions Director before sending your application to your next choice.
This is the final step in the approval process, when the General Conference Mission Personnel Processing Committee votes your assignment. This usually happens within a week of your acceptance by the mission organization. You will be notified after the vote.
If you are serving internationally, be ready to work on the following travel arrangements with your Student Missions Director:
*You can work on this anytime through the process.We recommend that you or your Student Missions Director work with your mission organization for visa instructions and flight dates. Your insurance will be arranged once you or your Student Missions Director emails your flight itinerary to Andrea Keele.Insurance for International Student MissionariesStudent Missionaries serving outside of the U.S. are covered by a special accident and illness travel insurance package for volunteers. Our office will arrange this for you.Insurance for Domestic VolunteersVolunteers serving within the U.S. are covered by Adventist Risk Management's Task Force insurance. Our office will ensure that the organization at which you are serving purchases this for you.For more information about insurance, see our Medical Emergencies page.
- Airline Ticket
- Checking Travel Alerts
Visual Chart of SM Application Process (download)
It is best to read through the call you are interested in to find out what expenses the volunteer is expected to cover. For example, most calling organizations cover the cost of their Student Missionary's insurance and a small living allowance, but ask them to pay for travel to the location. The expenses vary depending on the organization, so it is important to check the call. Check with your Student Missions Director about their fundraising amount which covers these expenses as well as other program benefits.
If you have applied or 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 to reapply (whether or not you return through your university program):
- Online application
- 1 new reference
- Updated resume (optional, but helpful)
Unsubmitted online applications may be deactivated three months after they are started. Submitted applications may also be deactivated if you stop or postpone the process, but we will check with your Student Missions Director before we do this. To reactivate your application, contact Andrea Keele.
Couples and Families
Though there are not as many, there are some calls that can accommodate married couples and even children. This information is listed on the call. Let us know if you would like help finding options. Please note that there are a few differences in the way couples are processed:
- Married couples should be married for at least one year before serving. If a couple would like to request an exception, more screening steps will be taken.
- If a married volunteer is serving without their spouse, they are limited to three months of service, per Church policy.
- If a volunteer's spouse accompanies them as a "dependent spouse" (he or she is not a voted volunteer), the following forms need to be completed by the spouse:
- Spouse Information
- Spouse Beneficiary Information
- Spouse Release of Liability
- Spouse Statement of Ethics
- Spouse Declaration
- Spouse Reference
- Spouse Health Clearance