Monday, June 28, 2010

youTheology and My Growth in Confidence

I just graduated in May from Friends University with a BA in Religion and Philosophy. I will be attending Saint Paul School of Theology in the fall for my Masters of Divinity.

I am to start as an intern at Church of the Resurrection as an Intern in their kids department in July. I also work as a waitress and trainer at Olive Garden.

I am a candidate for ministry in the United Methodist church with the intention of being a senior pastor in a small town church. I also plan to be a chaplain in the Army.

I was in youTheology the 03-04 year.

youTheology meant a lot to me because it was my first time to meet other young people like myself who had a heart for ministry and saw themselves going in the direction of leadership in the church. It made me realize I wasn’t weird for wanting this for my life. It also came at a time when I was struggling with my own theology and it was a perfect place to ask those questions and dialog with my peers.

youTheology has impacted my life in that it gave me a healthy respect for the United Methodist church and our heritage. It gave me connections with church leaders who I now call my friends. I look back on it as a time when I gained confidence in who I was becoming and who I have become.

Currently the people in my community of young adults are active in church in many ways. The majority of our youth group sponsors come form the young adult group because these are people that the youth want to look up to and respond best to. We are close enough in age that we can still identify. Another way that we are active in the church is through coffee shop and emergent ministry. Our church built a coffee shop stemming from the ideas of people in our Sunday school class. It is a way for the church to be in a part of the community without forcing people who are uncomfortable in the church setting to have to go to the church. We hold an emergent service there every Sunday night, led mostly by young adults.

Currently I am in the process of getting married, and moving to Kansas City to go to Saint Paul. For the past year two years I have been preaching at the emergent service called NEXT at our coffee shop, helping with youth group, going to college, and waitressing.

When I’m not busy with life I love to read, drink coffee, walk with my dog Bella and my fiancĂ© Wesley, quilt, and cook.

I experience God everyday in my community when I am able to talk about my faith in ordinary conversation with my co-workers at Olive Garden who don’t necessarily know Christ. The little kids at our NEXT service show me Christ in their unconditional love. Furthermore our community shows me what it means to be Christ in the way they all take up the task of raising the children of our community. Our church is located downtown and God never ceases to amaze when an upper class businessman reaches out to a homeless man and invites him into our church. Every time one of the people in the prison ministry is released and we have BBQ for them I see the work of God. I am surrounded by a community of people who want to exemplify what it means to have the attitude of Christ inside and outside the walls of the church.

By Elizabeth Winger
youTheology alumna
Loving God, Loving Neighbor

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