3 Questions That Led Me to Youth Ministry

annaliseOn 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


Hamster Balls and High School Friendships

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 9.26.49 AMOn the fourth day of my internship at Menlo Church, at around 2 pm, I found myself laying on top of an inflatable human hamster ball, attempting to deflate it on the cement floor of our hangout space. In the midst of laughter as my other co-workers walked by and saw me looking ridiculous, I thought to myself “How exactly is college preparing me for this work?” But as I reflect more deeply on the other things I have done and learned in the last week, I realize that I have learned so much at BC that has given me the capacity and excitement to do this work, and made me ready to learn more about ministry in the fast paced environment that is Menlo Church.

What I have learned in the classroom as a theology student has allowed me to hold my own surrounded by co-workers who have Masters degrees in Theology. When they make bible jokes in the office, or brainstorm scripture to use for sermons, I not only feel like I can keep up, but I feel I can offer my own opinion as well. However, I actually think that the thing I have learned at BC that will be the most valuable to my internship is the ability to make connections.

The most important thing I will do this summer, hopefully, is impact kids’ lives and relationships with God. In order to ever do that, I have to first become friends with them. I have to earn their trust, and become someone they want to spend their time with, share their stories with, and listen to. No amount of classroom experience could tell me the most effective way to befriend high schoolers I’ve never met, but lots of other experiences I’ve had at BC have been helpful. This past year as a Cura leader, I strived to earn the trust of seven freshman girls. I hoped and prayed that I could walk with them as they adjusted to BC and grew in their faith. I learned the kinds of questions I could ask to give them space to open up, and I felt what the different stages of earning their trust and friendship are like. Making connections, just like any other skill used in the workplace, requires practice, and I feel incredibly thankful for the practice I had at BC before beginning this internship.

I feel confident that the holy spirit is moving in this church, and in the lives of the teens we work with. As an intern, I get to be one small part of the wonderful things that are happening here, and I can’t wait to see what the upcoming weeks hold.

Written by Annalise Deal, BC Class of 2018