urban immersion Brings youth and adults to ODM for short-term trips to serve, learn, and interact with the neighborhood.
Every year, ODM hosts youth groups, school groups, and adult groups that come to serve at ODM for short-term trips. Our vision is to see lives transformed as people gain a bigger picture of the Kingdom of God in urban Denver. This happens through community engagement, educational activities, service opportunities, and the work of the Holy Spirit.
Your group will have the chance to serve at ODM and other organizations in our neighborhood, interact with the homeless, and learn about urban issues through a Christian worldview. We house groups in our dorm space on the Westside of Denver so that participants can be fully immersed in our unique urban landscape. We also host one-day immersion experiences for groups of all sizes.
We love to see individuals of all ages gain new perspectives as they engage in urban experiences. Email Megan Etter or call 720-975-0103 for more info. Keep reading for details on our week-long and weekend trips.
Urban immersion faq
Where will we stay?
Teams stay at ODM's west church campus, Westside Church Internacional. Groups sleep in dorm space with access to two separate showers, a full kitchen, and gym space. Groups will need vehicles to travel to different locations around the city during their time with us.
How many people can we bring?
We have four bedrooms with a total of 20 beds, but have room for many more on the floor and throughout other spaces at the church. ODM can host no more than 40 people at a time for service activities, but we can come up with creative ways to host larger groups. Groups must have a minimum of five people.
How much will my trip cost?
Open Door Ministries charges groups $50/person/night, which covers lodging, food, programing, and service projects supplies. To reserve a date, we request that groups pay a $500 deposit for the scheduled trip, which will be deducted from the final invoice. $500 is the minimum charge, regardless of group size.
How long should we stay?
We recommend that week-long groups come from Sunday - Friday and that weekend groups come from Friday - Sunday.
How do meals work?
Your ODM hosts will meal plan and grocery shop before your team arrives. Please let us know if anyone on your team has specific dietary needs. Teams will be expected to prepare and clean up meals at Westside.
What time of year can we come?
ODM hosts groups any time of the year! We also enjoy working with groups that want to join us for a day-long Urban Immersion experience.
Is there an age limit?
We require that participants are at least of Middle School age. We have found that elementary school children are too young to participate in the service projects and educational activities.
How can I best prepare my team for their UI experience?
The Urban Immersion Director will send you a short video, some group activities, and book to equip your team for their experience. If your team is local, ODM staff can also come and help facilitate a training session. You can also have your team and/or church collect new or gently used men’s socks for an outreach to the homeless during your trip.
"I loved how our students were pushed out of their comfort zones to interact and visit with people they typically wouldn't talk to."
Michael, Youth Pastor
visiting groups engage in our community, serve, and learn about urban issues.
urban immersion activities
Urban Immersion is more than just a volunteer program – we desire to give teams a holistic view of what it’s like to do ministry in Denver. Our program is structured around three key attributes:
1) Community Involvement
2) Service Projects
3) Learning Opportunities
Downtown Scavenger Hunt
Set out in groups to complete various tasks and interact with people experiencing homelessness to learn more about what it’s like to live below the poverty line in Denver.
Westside Scavenger Hunt
Discover the unique culture of the Westside of Denver by walking the neighborhood and engaging with the people you meet. (Groups do either Downtown or Westside Scavenger Hunt - they are similar activities)
Participate in a prayer walk through the neighborhood while learning about the ODM community and hearing about issues facing our city.
Go through an hour outreach training with Open Door staff and then head downtown to have meaningful conversations with the homeless in Civic Center Park and surrounding areas. The purpose of this activity is to meet needs, break down barriers, and have conversations about Christ.
Sidewalk Sunday School Outreach
Help ODM reach kids living on the Westside of Denver by spending an evening putting on “Sidewalk Sunday School,” an outreach activity involving a Bible lesson, games, and sharing resources with local families.
Serve alongside ODM as need arises. Projects may include gardening, painting, neighborhood cleanup, and deep cleaning.
Wendy’s with a Friend
Enjoy a snack at Wendy’s with a homeless friend from the ODM Family Room.
Serve Lunch in the Family Room
Serve lunch to our homeless friends in the ODM Family Room and get to know some of the people we reach on a daily basis.
Urban Entry Videos
Watch one or two Urban Entry videos – they are 15 minutes long and encourage discussion about urban issues from a Christian perspective.
Attend an Urban Church
Attend Open Door Fellowship or Westside Church Internacional and experience church in an entirely new way!
Engaging in the Greater Denver Area
Serve at other ministries in the Denver community, including Denver Rescue Mission, Providence Network and the Denver Voice.
Spend one night sleeping outside on the ODM playground to gain some insight into what it’s like living on the streets in Denver. Sleeping area is fully enclosed from the street.
Bus Ride to Aurora
Experience what it’s like taking public transportation down Colfax. Then get a glimpse of what poverty looks like in the suburbs.
Dinner at Ethnic Restaurant
Dine out at an ethnic restaurant to experience the diversity of Denver, Aurora, or Lakewood. (For groups who stay longer than two nights).
Participate in hands-on learning activities that allow groups to look beyond their own needs and explore ideas of poverty and wealth distribution.
Start each day hearing a devotion shared from an ODM staff person or pastor.
"the trip was deeply moving, challenging, and definitely made our students think deeper about their own faith, how to live it, and what it looks like to love those who aren’t like them."
Josh, Youth Pastor