A $12,000 grant from the denomination’s Young Clergy Initiative will make possible a new internship program by the Wesley Foundation at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.
The campus ministry at SWOSU will begin this new program with the first class of student interns in Fall 2015.
Every year churches contact United Methodist campus ministries in their search for energetic, thoughtful students to step into local-church leadership roles. Many call looking for youth directors, but others need help in children’s ministry or musical talent.
At times a perfect match results, but sometimes the college students find work in the church to be far different than expected, explained Elizabeth Horton-Ware.
Whether it is balancing school work and church schedules, the challenge of mentoring someone in the faith may burn out a college student who is still defining a personal understanding of God, still discerning that student’s role in God’s kingdom-ministry.
Rev. Horton-Ware said these were the thoughts behind the vision by the SWOSU Wesley Foundation for a new internship program. She is the Wesley Foundation director.
Student interns have long been part of this campus ministry, but the new format will require interns to serve 10 hours a week in local-church settings throughout the academic year.
The churches will provide mentors to guide the interns through their work in the congregations. In addition to that mentoring, interns will receive a weekend full of training and discernment. Monthly meetings will bring together all interns and the campus minister for training and group processing, with financial support throughout the process.
The $7 million Young Clergy Initiative Fund was created by the 2012 General Conference and is administered by the General Board of Higher Education & Ministry.
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