Holton First UMC pastoral intern


Reported by A.G. Turner, agturner@greatplainsumc.org
Holton First UMC, Holton, KS

Project Summary

Did your project go as expected?
When I was initially appointed, I was told we had hired Lydia Schnee as a Congregational Care Intern. I was also told this internship was funded by a Culture of Call Grant. No specifics were given regarding the scope of the internship, so initially I thought it was focused on the Congregational Care Team. However, I quickly discovered it was what I think of as a Pastoral Internship, since Lydia was exploring various areas of ministry across the spectrum in our church and not simply Congregational Care. It reflected well the description of the project as the church had applied for the grant, “Establish a Congregational Care Intern for 28 hours a month who will explore her gifts for pastoral ministry and participate in the continuum of spiritual and mental health care for children, youth and adults.”
As a result, I would say it met the description provided, and exceeded my original understanding of the scope of the internship.

Which of the 5 earmarks of Culture of Call did this project address? How?
  • Discernment events/experiences - This aspect of the internship was addressed through conversations. Lydia indicated Kathy also had her take a Spiritual Gifts Assessment which they discussed. To help Lydia clarify the ministries of Elder and Deacon, I connected her with Michelle Byerly, an ordained elder, and Ashley Prescott Barlow-Thompson, an ordained deacon. We also covered various aspects of ministry in our scheduled weekly meetings.
  • Personal exploration - This included Lydia’s participation in all the Teams and Committees in the church, opportunities for her to preach, lead prayer, lead Young Disciple’s Time (in Sunday service), read Scripture, teach Sunday School, and attend times to discuss various aspects of ministry with a focus on ministry in the United Methodist Church. When I began my appointment, I included Lydia in some aspect of Sunday morning worship each week.
  • Mentoring - Lydia and I had conversations prior to Sunday morning service covering areas of interest, experience of ministry, congregational needs and assessment and the like. After the initial few weeks I asked Lydia if there was anything specific she would like to cover during our discussions. She indicated she was interested in learning more about the UMC. We then began ZOOM Meetings each week (Wednesdays except for the Wednesdays when the various Teams and Ad Council met, then Tuesdays). I have attached a schedule of what we covered during that time.
  • Spiritual nurture - Lydia and I discussed the importance to those in ministry of observing the General Rules, including ‘attending upon the ordinances of God.’ We discussed the various means of grace Wesley listed under these. Also, Lydia and I discussed sharing our faith both in the personal and corporate setting.
  • Community expression of supporting individual calls - We highlighted Lydia’s ministry at least twice during my appointment. Kathy also highlighted Lydia’s ministry at least once during her appointment. These were during Sunday Morning Service and in our weekly emails. In addition, Lydia participated in encouraging members of the various teams and committees in their work and ministry.
Who was the primary audience of your project?

How did you use the funds?
We used the funds to pay Lydia for her position as a Congregational Care Intern.

Will the project that you undertook be continued? How?
No. Lydia will attend college in Kansas City, so at the end of her internship, the Congregational Care Intern position was not continued. However, the Congregation is open to future internships should those be funded from outside sources.

How did this project cultivate a culture of call in your church or district?
From an individual perspective, it allowed Lydia to explore her personal call to ministry and experience various aspects of ministry, both from an intellectual and practical perspective. From the congregational perspective, it provided a clear example of supporting the gifts and ministries of an individual who was discerning a possible call to full time ministry and making room for her to explore those gifts and ministries.

How were people impacted through the project?
From every report I’ve received, the process and effect of Lydia’s internship was a positive one. This is true of Lydia and of the congregation. I believe it positively impacted Lydia’s life in giving her the opportunity to explore aspects of her life and aspects of ministry she would not otherwise have had opportunity to explore as fully. From the congregational standpoint, Lydia’s expression of her gifts and graces added to our life as a church family in scope and depth. Her interaction with members of the congregation were encouraging and supportive, reinforcing the loving nature of our shared experience as a family of faith.

How did you tell the story of your project?
Lydia reported on her internship during Sunday morning services at least twice. In addition, her internship and its effects were discussed in various Team meetings at various times throughout the internship.

What could you share about this project with others?
From my perspective, allowing the widest possible latitude in practicing various aspects of ministry coupled with an informational (teaching) and a reflective (discussion) aspect results in a good balance for this type of internship. I have attached my schedule for the more formal ‘teaching’ sessions in the latter part of the internship. Please note that this is not a comprehensive coverage of ministry-related topics. I would also note that Lydia assisted me in the first few sessions of our Confirmation Class which provided additional insights into our faith and practice.