Students have a lot of choices for how to spend the summer before their junior or senior year of college. Studying abroad, refilling bank accounts, F500 internships, that last camp counselor experience, or summer classes are just a few of the options that compete with what ServeHere can offer.
With that context, you might imagine that the person who choses to compete for the opportunity to spend their summer exploring God’s calling on their life, while intensely serving others, is a special individual. And you would be right.
By far, the hardest and most important part of my role at ServeHere is finding and selecting the right students for the summer. There is just so much at stake – and to make things even harder – this year we were blessed with a bumper crop of very qualified students.
In the end, God’s hand was very evident in bringing forward the 11 Concordia, UT and Texas A&M students selected out of the 40 who applied. Their interests and gifts are diverse — and their fields of study reflect that — from Education to Film Making; from Business to Biology; and far beyond. They are certainly successful in the classroom too — with an average GPA over 3.7. But most importantly, each of them is a mature believer who wants to pursue Christ’s calling on their life. So they are dedicating this summer to the challenge of better understanding that calling and how it might translate into their life after college.
Having spent weeks and weeks getting to know this amazingly talented group of students during the recruiting phase this Spring – and now having spent two more full days interacting with them in training sessions and in the field – I couldn’t be more excited at the prospects for this summer.
As the program moves along, we’ll give you a deeper look at the inspiring people of ServeHere’s Summer Class of 2014.
On a beautiful Sunday morning in Austin, what better way to start the day than serving and worshiping down at Church Under the Bridge (CUB)? After a full Saturday in a conference room, we were all glad that Day 2 of the ServeHere Summer Kickoff training weekend began in field!!
ServeHere ministry partner Mission Possible has several different ministries, but it’s original one is a vibrant Street Ministry that all started with CUB. When Mission Possible first started working with the homeless in Austin, they heard them say what they needed most was a place they felt comfortable worshipping and hearing the gospel. Years later, CUB continues to faithfully provide exactly that kind of welcoming environment under the overpass of I35 in the heart of downtown.
Serving at CUB gave each of us a chance to be productive helping with load-in and load-out. But more importantly, our students seized on the opportunity to personally connect with another group of God’s children who live very different lives. It was an eye opening and heartwarming experience for everyone.
After loading-out, we headed over to the Mission Possible campus at 12th and Chicon for the afternoon. Lunch was provided by a food truck that donated the proceeds to Mission Possible’s kids camp program. So, we chowed down while listening to Beau Hamner, director of MP’s Street Ministry, and our 2nd speaker in the series. It was inspiring to hear Beau’s personal journey — how God unexpectedly called him to minister to the homeless — and the obedient and sacrificial way Beau and his family have responded. It’s a journey that led the family from youth ministry in Charlotte, NC all the way to the streets of Austin, TX.
After a great Q&A with Beau, the afternoon training sessions were focused on preparing the students for success on the job. Tips, techniques and tools were shared to ensure that our students had the best chance of quickly fitting in and contributing as interns in their new environments.
Finally, each person wrapped up the day by carefully considering why they are spending the summer in this very unique way – and setting three goals that can be used to empirically judge whether our summer with ServeHere and our non-profit placement was a success.
After five months of recruiting, reviewing student applications, conducting phone screens and in-person interviews, meeting with local non-profits and matchmaking summer placements– a shiny new ServeHere summer has begun!
The Summer Class of 2014 is 11 strong – more than twice the size of our inaugural class. We started the program with a two-day Summer Kickoff training event designed to introduce these gifted students to their colleagues, prepare them for a successful summer work experience and inspire hem to boldly consider their purpose in life.
With sessions like Non-profits 101, Called to Serve, A Different Kind of Internship, Who You Are, and other – ServeHere students were challenged to explore and grab hold of God’s plan to use each of us in building His kingdom.
Many thanks to Rudy’s, who allowed us to meet in the beautiful conference room of their corporate headquarters on Day 1! It was a generous gift and a great example set by a company that sees a bigger corporate mission.
Thanks also to Concordia Career Services Coordinator, Joyce Sinclair, who led the students in an exercise to understand their personality temperament and how to harness that for maximum performance and service to God.
We are also grateful for John Calaway kicking off our inspiring summer-long guest speakers’ series as he shared his story of starting a Mexican restaurant in Kathmandu in order to help his real mission of planting churches in the mountains of Nepal after college graduation.
It was a great first day of summer – and I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for everyone!