Cultivating Calling: My Grace Internship
BY JENN JOHNSON, GRACE 2015 SUMMER INTERN & GRACE ATTENDER
I was in my last year of a psychology based human services degree at Indiana University when I decided to apply for an internship at Grace Church. After extensive volunteering with a Christian, international not-for-profit, I started to feel vocational ministry was the path I was being lead down. To my surprise, God started to put the church on my heart, but I wasn’t sure how I might serve in the church as I’d never thought of working in a church. After prompting from the Holy Spirit that was impossible to ignore, I searched the options at Grace Church, my home church, and found internship information.
ACCESS, Grace’s young adult ministry, has many components that allowed me to gain an assortment of experiences while giving back to a ministry I love. I learned how to set up for Thursday night gatherings, I hosted and directed services, I created guides for small group leaders to facilitate discussions with their groups, I organized a team of people who helped welcome and connect others, and I even had the privilege of preparing a sermon and speaking. I learned the ins-and-outs of the ministry and that vocational ministry is not a 9-to-5 job, but rather a 24/7 job.
The internship also allowed me to learn more about myself: my passions, gifts, and calling. The interns met weekly in classes, where we had opportunities to dig within ourselves and process what we discovered together. Not only did I gain a better understanding of my strengths, but I’m also more aware of my weaknesses and the ways I hold myself back from fully engaging my truest self in Christ. Summer interns also travel to Toronto together where the introspection continues. That trip reminded me of the simplicity of the Gospel; to love God and love others, no matter their outward impression or state of heart.
As an intern group, one of our favorite experiences together was serving in the Care Center’s choice food pantry every Monday night. Serving in the Care Center allowed us to take on the service-oriented side of Grace Church that is a crucial component of its fabric. Getting to know the friends, hearing their stories, and praying over them before they left was a privilege. Serving others reveals many things about our personal ministry, probably because it’s important to God that we do so.
My internship experience at Grace allowed me to explore vocational ministry in the local church and affirmed that God has a role for me in the church. I loved being part of Grace’s movement in Central Indiana, and am thankful for the opportunity to contribute to it while cultivating my gifts and discerning my calling in life.