On the way home from a week of camp I was sitting in the front seat of a bus with a sleeping teenager next to me half watching Space Jam when my co-worker asked me what I had learned from this internship, and all I could think to answer was “I love youth ministry.” I knew that before I started this internship too, but now I truly feel like this work is my vocation.
It is often difficult for people to understand how to know when one is being called to a vocation, and for a long time, I didn’t know how I would know. However, this spring before my internship I watched Father Himes famous talk “The Three Key Questions,” in which he explains how we can truly discern our vocation. Below I have begun to answer these questions in light of my 7 week internship with Menlo Church
1) Is this a source of joy?
Yes. I drove home from the church every day smiling, and sometimes with tears in my eyes. There is hardly anything that I could imagine bringing me more joy than watching high schoolers build a love for Jesus and each other. I often couldn’t believe that listening to kids tell stories about God in between games of ping pong and meetings with brilliant pastors could be considered “work”
2) Is this something that taps into your talents and gifts—engages all of your abilities—and uses them in the fullest way possible?
This is a hard question to answer about oneself, but I think yes. According to StrengthsQuest my strengths include: Winning others over, Adaptability, Communication and Includer, all of which are incredibly important in youth min. Also, I love to write and am able to do so relatively efficiently when it’s something I enjoy (like writing a sermon!). Plus, purely based on my age it was easy to relate to youth which is a big part of doing this work.
3) Is this role a genuine service to the people around you, to society at large.
According to leading youth ministry studies, 94% of adult Christians say they made the decision to commit to the faith at or before age 18. That means statistically, there is no more important time to invest spiritually in the lives of people, than when they are young. The church I was working at specifically, also is in a time of major transition and will be in need of many more youth ministry workers in the coming years, so my community especially is certainly in need of this service.
Written by Annalise Deal, BC Class of 2018