The Experiential Leadership Institute (ELI) is a multi-week, immersive leadership development experience. Highly trained coaches guide rising 11-12th graders to discover their God-given strengths, reflect on what it means to function as a Christian community, and practice servant leadership while making a difference as day camp counselors. These amazing ELI students serve as the on-site teams to bring the power of camp ministry to local churches through Grow Day Camp in North Georgia. ELI students are well trained in camp, flexible with developmentally appropriate programming for children, and play focused on faith formation. But what happens when these exceptionally training students age out of the program? There are only a limited number of site coordinator positions available to continue. This is what motivated multiple conversations, some while waiting in a lunch line. Some of the best conversations come from lingering at the end of a food line with key folks.

The Atlanta-Marietta District of the North Georgia United Methodist Conference is beyond excited to launch the pilot KidMin Intern Program for college students to explore a calling to ministry with children in the local church. We count it an honor to walk beside students exploring their gifts and talents in their discernment process to follow God’s leading on their lives. As Children’s Ministry leader-servants we are passionate about sharing the gospel with kids and their families.

Nature of the Intern Program
KidMin Interns will work in pairs with three unique local churches to plan and implement ministry programs during the months of June and July. Free housing will be provided as well as a stipend paid.

KidMin Interns began serving on Thursday, June 1 and will conclude July 31. KidMin Interns will be assigned and serve alongside three experienced KidMin Mentors who desire feedback, fresh ideas, insights and to share their passion for ministry. KidMin Interns and KidMin Mentors will meet all together weekly on Sunday afternoons for lunch, fun, prayer, worship, training and planning for the next week. KidMin Interns will rotate through the local churches to provide support and leadership for Vacation Bible School, Summer Camps, Sunday school, family events, children’s church, mission projects, small group Bible study and a few surprise events.

The KidMin Interns will have a weekly opportunity to serve in worship services and to engage in district connections. Interns will explore vocations in ministry and service through field trips and dialogue with lay and ordained leadership of various partnering non-profit organizations, businesses, and United Methodist institutions. They’ll gather with other Children’s Ministry heroes of North Georgia at Annual Conference in June.

The summer will be busy. This summer will be a blast. This summer will fly by. And most importantly, the summer will be a great time of spiritual growth for three KidMin mentors and two KidMin Interns as they learn, serve, and fall more in love with Jesus and the local church!

Purpose of the Program
To provide church ministry experiences through which young adults can explore how God might be calling them, develop gifts for ministry, serve the needs of the mentor local churches, and grow in faith in Jesus Christ.

Two fabulous ELI alumni began last Thursday on a trip with fifth graders from two of the mentor churches to Lake Winnie for a day of play, games (which the interns directed), and training for the fifth graders who will be serving in servant-leadership positions this summer for the first time.

We have downloaded the She Reads Truth app and will be using the SOAP method to journal together. We will be using the 1 & 2 Timothy lesson since we are focused on mentoring relationships. At the end of each day, the interns will record three things they noticed which we will discuss each Sunday as a small group and/or with the mentors each will work alongside each day. A calendar schedule lets everyone know where the interns will be each day in June and July and provides a fair coverage and time with each mentor local church.

Since I enjoyed C’s company in worship last Sunday, recording the times each transition took place in the worship service (one of the many ‘numbers’ I collect each week), Sunday school using Visual Faith Project images, and VBS training after services, I asked her what she noticed:
– She noticed how our church serves communion differently than her home church. This made for great conversation about local church traditions.
– She noticed my super volunteer, Ms. Diana and asked if she was involved in everything I did. I enthusiastically said, “Yes!” Although Ms. Diana serves the church in other ways, she is dedicated to making sure the littles know Jesus. She is a fabulous partner in ministry! I thought it interesting C could tell by attending one Sunday who was ‘all in’ for ministry with little people.
– She noticed at Lake Winnie that two of my girls were game for trying new things. We call it a ‘spirit of yes.’ Although I had never really spoken about it at the church, I share with others that my local church does indeed have a ‘spirit of yes.’ We try new things. We talk about new experiences. We engage in the wonder of a growing faith. We love Jesus and we love to say, “Yes!” How precious to me for Christina to pick up on that especially as these two girls are aging out of children’s ministry at the end of the summer. If I talk about it more, I’ll just be a puddle of tears.

Most of the blogs this summer will be about our KidMin intern experiences. It is a dream come true to mentor these young women and they to mentor us. Though my small-to-mid-size-church could not afford an intern on our own, our connectional body has made it possible for three small-to-mid-size-churches with completely different DNAs to practice and especially learn from two wonderfully trained students. Living out Titus 2…with glitter and water games!

“Teach the older women…to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love , to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy, to be kind, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:3-5