Intern Reflects on Explore Experience
I was in seventh grade the first time someone told me that I should go into the ministry, but I never considered that it could be an option for my life until the end of my first year of college. The EXPLORE summer internship program gave me the opportunity to question and discern what a call to ministry really entails.
As an EXPLORE intern serving at Mt. Pleasant UMC, I led children’s Sunday school, preschool VBS, and a middle school small group bible study. I also preached, chaperoned the youth’s mission trip, made home/hospital visits, and attended other various church-related meetings and functions. Everyday my love for humanity deepened as I learned how to serve and understand different individuals within the church and community setting. I learned how to live a more examined life that is centered in Christ and overflowing in grace and mercy as I visited homebound elderly and those sick in the hospital. I also redefined my definition of ministry. I discovered that, as Christ-followers, we are called to be in ministry in everything that we say and do. Our lives are our ministries to shape, mold and transform the world. I learned that one does not need an order of ordination to be in the business of ministry.
As an EXPLORE intern, I built life-long friendships with church members, leadership, and fellow mentees that I will always treasure and hold dear to my heart. I struggled with what God’s call is for my life, I prayed, I sought out guidance and I prayed some more. While I did not necessarily receive a “yes” or “no” as to whether I am called to ordained ministry, what I did receive is a rejuvenated spirit that is full of hope that God has a plan for me. I have a peace in my heart knowing that God has a plan for me greater than anything I could ever dream myself. If that plan for me happens to be ordained ministry, then I will joyfully say, “…put me to what You will.”
I continue to respond to God’s call by leading a bible study on my college campus, practicing my pastoral skills as a Resident Assistant, and allowing myself the space and time to discern God’s call for my life.
Tiffany Jones is a student at High Point University and participated in Explore in 2014. She was placed at Mt. Pleasant UMC in Sherrills Ford in the Catawba Valley district.
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Resources for Vital Congregations
Lewis Center for Church Leadership
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor
GBHEM Leadership Resources
Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church
Englewood Book Review
Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
Ted Talks: The Golden Circle
Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability
Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability
Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians
Be A Disciple
A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network
Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations
Living As United Methodist Christians
Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials
Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today
John Wesley Sermons: Anthology
Get Their Name
Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit
Canoeing the Mountains
Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People
Community: The Structure of Belonging
RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:
Institute for Emerging Issues
Congregations 4 Children
The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants
The Duke Endowment
The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:
- Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
- Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org.