"My junior year of high school is when I first felt called to start my path into full time youth ministry."

     After that experience, I began volunteering with the Jr. High program at my church and led a Jr. High small group. If anything, that just confirmed in my heart and in my mind that youth ministry was where I was supposed to be. When I heard about the opportunity to be an intern at Madison Park Church, I immediately jumped at the chance. I really just wanted to learn about what it looks like to be a youth pastor. I knew the internship was something I wanted to do, but I had no idea what to expect. I just went in saying; I want to soak everything in: I want to learn.

     I learned. I learned a lot. The internship has been more fulfilling and valuable then I could have ever imagined. In my opinion, one of the main reasons for the internship’s impact on me was the fact that it was so structured. Matt (the other intern at Madison Park Church) and I had open discussions about how we were so glad that we were part of an internship program that already had plans and an outline on how things were to unfold. We both agreed that we were able to learn much more from this structured summer than from a church that just put something together because someone asked about an internship.

     I felt that the majority of the classes were very helpful and interesting. I don’t know if it was this way at all of the churches involved, but at Madison Park Church, we had different pastors teach some of the different classes. I thought that was especially helpful because it helped us get to see a little bit of what goes on outside of a youth ministry, but still part of the church. The classes about working with church leadership and planning an effective talk were my two favorites. Especially when finding the right job, I learned that finding the right church means being on the same page with the church leadership. Planning talks became much more of a process for me rather than just having a good idea and winging it.

     All in all, I really love the program. I love the idea that people across the nation are learning the same stuff as me, and being trained with the same mission, so when I have my own ministry, the Church of God youth leaders will have the same goals all across the nation. Along with that, there are just so many things about being a youth pastor that can only be learned by actually experiencing it. This internship has been that experience. I feel more prepared now than I could have ever imagined I’d be. I’m remembering more and more of the little things that need to happen to make a program or event run smoothly. Looking back on the first event I planned as an intern compared to the most recent event I planned, I know that I have learned so much. Planning programs was just one area I learned about. I also feel that I can prepare and present talks with much more effectiveness now than I could before. I just feel that because of this internship I am more prepared to be in charge of a youth ministry.