The Establish Network Internship is a leadership development ministry of Taylors First Baptist Church that provides college-age young adults the opportunity to be actively involved in the ministry alongside faithful and experienced ministers. Young adults have the opportunity to serve within the Worship Ministry, Equip Ministries, and Reach Ministries. The goal is not only for each intern to grow in their ministry skills but also in their character and call. The Internship exists to develop multiplying leaders who make disciples wherever God calls them.
This summer, we launched our first Establish Network Internship program. Because of your Generous Giving, seven college students spent their summer learning about what it looks like to work in ministry, specifically working with Taylors Children, Taylors Students, Taylors College, Reach, and Communications.
Three interns shared their experiences this summer and what they learned: Faith Ensley serving with Taylors Children, Parker Mallard serving with Taylors College, and Laura-Caroline Atkinson serving with Reach.
What did you expect to learn coming into this internship?
Faith: At the beginning of the summer, I was hopeful that this internship would clarify the calling I feel the Lord has placed on my life. I also wanted to grow in boldness to proclaim the gospel, my capacity to study Scripture, and my ability to take feedback from others and implement that feedback to enhance an aspect of ministry. More specifically, I was hopeful to be able to elicit feedback to grow a Special Needs ministry at Taylors FBC.
Parker: I expected to learn how to lead college-aged students better. I also expected to do some handy work to improve the Loft and the surrounding area.
Laura-Caroline: I entered this internship expecting to learn more about what mission-centered ministry looked like, specifically in our church and the local community.
What have you actually learned?
Faith: This internship has grown and stretched me in ways that I never knew were possible, but I am so grateful for all of them. I feel as if I have learned an immense amount about how to clearly communicate with those around me (whether it be ministers, peers, families, other churches, etc.). I have grown in my ability to talk to others, and specifically how to boldly proclaim all that the Lord is doing (and has done) in my life to those around me.
Parker: I have learned how to handle money better in the ministry world. I have also learned that ministry is not all about leading one big group. Ministry can be as simple as taking a student to lunch and mentoring them; it is not always a big group at church.
Laura-Caroline: I have learned what I’d hoped to learn and so much more. Not only have I learned what evangelism looks like in our community but also globally in various avenues from women’s ministry to refugee work. I was exposed to distinct ministries within niches and more large-scale organizations.
How has this internship shaped the way you view your calling?
Faith: Throughout this internship, I feel as if I have realized two things: one, I am right where the Lord wants me to be. He has confirmed in more ways than I can count that He has called me to ministry, specifically special needs/disability ministry. I know that this internship was a stepping stone to wherever the Lord is going to lead me next, and I absolutely cannot wait for the next step. Secondly, the Lord has reminded me of the importance of obedience when it comes to listening to His voice. I almost did not apply for this internship, but after many around me encouraged me to do so, I finally did. I pray I never lose sight of the importance of following where He leads, even when it doesn’t make sense.
Parker: This internship has given me more hope and a stronger desire for ministry. I still do not know exactly where God wants me in ministry, but after working with college students, I could see myself there.
Laura-Caroline: This summer, I felt God confirming my calling into ministry, specifically in missions. He did this by allowing me to meet specific people with the knowledge and connections to help me find what I wanted to do. I felt energized, passionate, and excited when learning about Refugee Ministry, which was something I’d only briefly considered before. Several times this past summer, I have been brought to tears because of the fierce desire I have to serve and contribute to this call. I ended up applying for the IMB Journeyman Program because of the conversations and connections I made, which I can only see as God’s hand leading me and directing my steps. Even if this path doesn’t lead me to where I’m expecting it, I know that I am supposed to be walking down it, and I’m excited to see where it leads.
What did you do during your internship?
Faith: Throughout my internship, I was able to shadow all of the Taylors Children team and see a lot of the behind-the-scenes things that go into ministry. I also had the opportunity to begin networking with churches around us that have thriving special needs ministries in hopes of following in their footsteps.
Parker: I planned events for the college group, such as group hikes, ultimate frisbee, and weekly Bible studies. I also helped improve the Loft and learned more about ministry.
Laura-Caroline: I did two main tasks throughout the summer: preparing and organizing the Refugee Care Package and connecting with Taylors FBC’s partners to create prayer guides based on those experiences.
What has this internship taught you about God, yourself, or the world around you?
Faith: This internship has taught me so much, but I think the overarching lesson I have learned is to trust the Lord wherever He leads because there is always purpose behind His plans. I have dreamed of working in a church large enough to sustain a special needs ministry for a long time. For a while, I thought this was just a dream, but the Lord has shown me through this summer that there is both an incredible need and opportunity for this everywhere, including in our area. I do not know where He will take me next, but I plan to cling to His Word and continue to pursue the calling He has placed on my life by following wherever He may lead.
Parker: This internship has taught me to be patient with the Lord’s direction as I rely on Him to lead me. I struggle with patience, and so through this summer, the Lord has been pushing me to overcome it.
Laura-Caroline: More than anything, I’ve been reminded how big and impossible the needs are in the world, but that God isn’t limited by mortal impossibilities. His plans are perfect, detailed, and exhaustive, and I don’t have to worry about any of them. He’s given me the next step, even if that looks like what I do in the next 60 seconds, or if I’m lucky the next hour. Meeting the needs of this community and the world as a whole is impossible, and yet so much is getting done, not just because of the hard work of Christ-following believers, but mainly because of the divine providence and over-arching design God has. The need is overwhelming; God’s perfection is even more so.