Prospects of summer jobs for college-age students in the Great Plains can go beyond mowing grass, babysitting or bagging groceries.
The conference offers seven different types of internships involved in various forms of ministry for the summer, each over a 10-week period and each receiving a stipend.
“This is something from our United Methodist Church in which they will learn about faith, learn about leadership, learn about themselves and growing as a member of a team and make a difference for 10 weeks of their lives,” said the Rev. Nicole Conard, the Great Plains’ coordinator of young-adult leadership. “I think it’s a surefire way of being able to use their leadership in the world and opening themselves up to God’s grace.”
Learn more about internship opportunities.
Internships available in the conference include the Micah Corps, a group that promotes mercy and justice ministries; Vacation Bible School leaders; church planting; youth ministry; Hispanic ministry; pastoral leadership; and counselors for the conference’s six summer camps.
The first round of deadlines and interviews in January have passed. The second-round deadline is Feb. 19, with interviews Feb. 21-24. The third and final round deadline is March 19, with interviews March 21-24.
Conference leaders will be working together more this year to interview and select leaders, Conard said.
“We’re really collaborating our efforts more this year and making sure we really have clear process and objectives for interns,” she said.
Both pastors and parents are encouraged to urge young people to apply for the internship positions, Conard added.
“We want them to say, ‘What are you doing this summer?’ and letting them know there is an option,” she said.
Internships in 2017 begin with a gathering May 22-25 at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina and conclude with a closing retreat July 28-29 at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln.
“We’re really building that up as a time when the students can process their experience,” Conard said of the new-format closing retreat. “How will this help them become better leaders in what God is calling them to do next?”
Also new this year is a daily devotional created for the interns, Conard said.
Internships for counselors at Great Plains camps also will take place during these times. Great Plains camps are Chippewa (near Ottawa, Kansas), Comeca (Cozad, Nebraska), Fontantelle (Nickerson, Nebraska), Horizon (Arkansas City, Kansas), Norwesca (Chadron, Nebraska) and Lakeside (Scott City, Kansas).
Sara Shaw, camping ministry coordinator, said staff is especially needed at Norwesca and Comeca. Male applicants are especially needed, although there are a few camp internships available for females as well.
For those already with summer plans, Shaw said, a college practicum can be available for those wanting to work at camps during the school year.
Among those with life-changing experiences thanks to their internships is Kristina Heinrich, from Wilson, Kansas, a two-year veteran of VBS internships, and one year in pastoral leadership.
“It helped me with my strengths and weaknesses and things I need to work on,” said Heinrich, a senior at Fort Hays State University. “I learned what it means to give back to the church and be that kind of person for an entire summer. It gave me a little bit of insight into what parts of my life are going to look like later.”
It was during one of her internships, Heinrich said, that she felt the calling into pastoral ministry.
“I was kind of unsure where I was going with my major,” she said. “We went to a church service at a town we had stopped at to stay the night. The pastor was doing her call-to-ministry talk, and I felt a little nudge that was saying, ‘Hey, listen closer.’ It was kind of my realization of, ‘I hear you, I hear what you’re saying.’”
Heinrich said she would encourage others to feel that nudge.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” she said. “There’s no other experience that’s exactly like it. It helps you in your faith, and you meet so many people you stay in touch with for the rest of your life.”
Contact David Burke, communications coordinator, at email@example.com.