As the deacon overseeing Mars Hill Kids at the Ballard church, I have had the tremendous blessing to serve alongside some truly wonderful volunteers in our mission to make disciples. I have also had the honor of being the sponsor for several Mars Hill interns. These people give and serve sacrificially on Sundays and throughout the week to help advance the mission of Mars Hill, and they are a huge blessing to the staff, to the congregation, and to the church as a whole. This last October marked the end of a 14-month commitment given by three Mars Hill Kids interns. I am proud to say they have served with humility, integrity, and glad hearts. I asked Melissa of them to write about the joys, hardships, and overall experiences of being a Mars Hill intern so that I could share her words with the parents of Mars Hill Kids. Here is what she had to say.
I don’t even remember how I found out about the Mars Hill internship at first. I didn’t think I would get it, but I also knew I wanted to learn about teaching kids about God. A year later, I was welcomed on as an intern in Kids Ministry! Here are some snapshots of my 14 months in that internship.
1. Great teams help people grow
I had a great team during my internship comprising fellow interns, staff, and volunteers. I felt tremendous support, encouragement, friendship, and grace in every conversation. God has used each one of these people to show me his grace and love. He’s also used them in my growth—socially, personally, and in my faith, specifically in my understanding of salvation and my prayer life. My team saw me where I was and spoke into my life through their personal experiences. Through readings, discussions, and teachings, they helped build my theology as well as my knowledge of Christianity in relation to my head, heart, and hands. The children also spoke into my life through their questions, fears, knowledge, and faith, and the weekly lessons showed me new Bible verses and applications.
2. Community is family
During the internship, I was around the church building often and got to meet a fair amount of members, visitors, regular attenders, and volunteers. Interacting with so many people and seeing their investment in each other reminded me that God’s plan is for us to be in community to walk alongside each other. As I observed the families I interacted with, I saw God’s plan for legacy as the parents live as intentional disciple-makers of their children and how that impacts the children and the parents themselves. I felt a community bond grow between the staff and church members and myself throughout my time as an intern, and it’s a bond that continues today.
This community is invested and interested in my life and I in theirs. It is a community with a support that is as genuine as family. This community was a huge blessing as I felt their honest concern, prayers, and advice as I experienced struggles and blessings. I realized towards the end of the internship that God confirmed Mars Hill Ballard as my home church and that he has me in Ballard with a heart on mission for the neighborhood and church.
3. With Jesus, there’s no such thing as a small moment
From the 7:45 a.m. prayer time to the close of the 7 p.m. service, it truly is “all about Jesus.” It was amazing to see God touch the lives of so many people and to get to witness it. I saw connections on Sundays that never stopped to amaze me—something or someone who was prayed for in the morning, connected unplanned through the truth spoken in Kids Ministry, and was reaffirmed through Scripture and worship at the evening service.
While Sundays where days of long hours, God gave me experiences throughout the week to give of myself and to see him: holding a child’s hand, answering phone calls, doing laundry, talking with parents, or listening to the needs of volunteers might have been insignificant moments had God not used them. Not every situation came easy or ended the way I hoped, but when my pride and ego got crushed, it made room for seeing God.
Throughout the internship, I was guided by my team, community, and the Holy Spirit to look at situations and relationships with Jesus as conqueror, servant, sacrifice, forgiver and Savior and myself at his feet. My identities as teacher, helper, and “nice person” have been things I’ve held on to pretty tightly. I was shown how God uses something he has gifted to us as a talent, skill, or interest to see our sin and his glory. He also has shown me that he sees me as his child, whom he patiently pursues, repeatedly teaches, and always loves.