Where are you now and when were you a Cultivate intern?
I am currently living in Los Angeles, California. I was an intern in Minneapolis in 2014, a semester intern last year in Florida, and an APC in New York summer 2015.
What was your job?
In Minneapolis I worked at Substance Church with a team of eight and helped them develop their local outreach program. In Florida I worked on the Bible App for Kids, helped develop the intern welcome booklet and worked on social media with Product Development. In New York we worked with a church plant in Manhattan.
What do you do now?
My official title is Youth Ministry Assistant. I work with junior high and high school students and I still work through a contract with OneHope as a translation coordinator.
What was the largest area of personal growth that you experienced?
Just learning that I felt a call to do ministry. I graduated with an idea that I wanted to go into nonprofit work, but never ever saw myself working in the church. And slowly God said, “No, I think I have other plans for you.” So it has been quite the journey. Just as far as discerning what I was called to do.
How did you use your OneHope experience to find a job?
When I was an APC, I spent lot of time with the two girls in the program and I just really loved talking to them about God and their faith. This and leading root group sessions lead me to think, “Hey, maybe that’s something that I would like to do with younger girls, like students.” I felt like I had to be in ministry – no other job was going to do it for me. When I was pursuing this job as a youth ministry leader, I felt the need to work with this next generation. I have to think that my experience working within both a church setting and a nonprofit organization setting has significantly helped get a job.
How is God working in your life? Have you seen a change that started through Cultivate?
I think one of the biggest changes is the way I see the church today. I grew up in church and had very set ideas of what church involvement and being a Christian meant. Working in Minneapolis shifted all of that. Hearing from the community groups at Substance and their ideas of God really changed my heart. God blew my idea of who He was and who He could be and then in that way, who I was and all the things I could be. So it broadened my perspective as far as what I could do in ministry and He had a bigger plan for me than I ever had for myself.
Is there a scripture that guides you through your major life decisions?
Joshua 1:9 is my life verse – be strong and courageous. While I was working at OneHope in Florida, one of my colleagues introduced me to the idea of having a word for the year. So when I was in Florida it was faithfulness and this year it’s obedience. Joshua 1:9 speaks to needing courage and God wherever you go, but also speaks to what it means to be obedient in that way.
How would you describe Cultivate to young adults who don’t know what it is?
I think it is an opportunity to experience ministry and a way to teach that ministry is never cookie-cutter. It’s a summer of service, but also growth and relationship building.
Check back next week to read the alumni interview with OneHope employee Jessica Sherwood!