Student ministry has always been apart of my life.
Growing up I was the youth pastor’s kid who was always running around the youth room pestering all the youth. My first leadership role was when I was in middle school. My middle school pastor was crazy enough to let me and my other 8th grade buddies start a student led worship band. We took it seriously and practiced every week. I am sure we were terrible when we first started but they stuck with us and we gained a lot of leadership experience. In high school I continued gaining leadership experience through my roles on our student leadership team. I was involved with planning Wednesday night services and mapping out the calendar year for the youth group. It was such a blessing to be given the opportunity to serve in these areas in which I was able to grow.
It was through these leadership roles and the influences of people that were around me that I began to hear God’s call on my life. Throughout high school I began to battle with God if he was really calling me into student ministry. I would pray, “God are you really calling me to student ministry? Or am I calling myself into ministry?” But looking back through my journey there was no question that God was preparing me for student ministry and his call on my life was real. After high school God led me to Asbury College to study youth ministry. Asbury College has been a great place for me to learn and grow as I prepare for ministry. However, I am an experiential learner and I needed to put into practice everything I had been learning in class. So when it came time to do an internship I was really excited. After exploring some different options God led me to apply for an internship with Chip Taylor at Bayside Community Church of God.
I arrived in Florida with all kinds of different emotions running through me. The only feeling I could really articulate was the excitement of being in Florida, I mean let’s face it Florida is awesome. And so it began, the best three months of my life. During our orientation day I fully grasped everything that the Internship Academy would entail. Before then I had been swimming in the shallow end of student ministry. I had allowed my feet to get wet and was even swimming sometimes, but I always had the assurance that I could stand up whenever I wanted. With the help of the Internship Academy I was able to jump into the deep end. “Sink or swim I’m diving in” is how Steven Curtis Chapman puts it. My experience was that the Internship Academy gave me a perfect blend of challenge and support. I was challenged with tasks and goals that I had never been faced with yet given the support I needed to accomplish the tasks. I learned so much in one summer, I am still unpacking all that I learned. The one thing I did take away that was more important then everything else was the relationships that I gained. The friendships formed through this internship are ones that continue to encourage me as I move forward in my ministry journey.
It is a gift to be called to ministry but it is also a challenge. If God has called you to ministry or you are just exploring a call to ministry then the Internship Academy is a perfect place to start. The Internship Academy will help you discover what student ministry is all about. But more importantly it can help you discover God’s plan for your life. I know that my life was changed because of the Internship Academy. Are you up for the challenge?