Things have been very different for me since graduating from UCLA, as expected. I know I don’t usually post personal reflections on this blog, but my change in environment has prompted a temporary change in policy.
Who knew that I’d be working in an office building after college? I’ve since moved to the South Bay (CA) where I’m living with a bunch of guys (again) in one room and I’ve started a full-time internship at my local church. With no classes or assignments to stress over, things have been quite casual. I work from nine to five, but it doesn’t really seem like I do: I’m at liberty to study, read, or work on different projects at my own leisure with no looming deadlines. I’m working with brothers and a sister in Christ whom I enjoy being around and their love and faithfulness is always a refreshing sight throughout the day. All of us are working for the same goal, which is to glorify God through our ministries. I can’t even begin to describe how blessed I am to be here, in this position, under such humble, transparent leadership. I’m excited to learn and looking forward to the challenge of ministry, but for now, I’m just taking in the environment and soaking up the experience.
So what do we do during our internship, you might ask? Well, plenty of stuff. Though our day is relatively loose on structure (meaning we get to set our own agendas for the most part), we have more than enough projects to work on. Mondays usually consist of meetings, but the rest of our 40 hours might be filled with ministry preparation or just plain reading. All the interns are going through a book study on “The Trellis and the Vine” by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne (one of the books on my summer reading list), and there are optional extras that we can participate in. I’m loading up on the reading this summer, so I’m also reading “On the Mortification of Sin in Believers” by John Owen and “Rescuing Ambition” by Dave Harvey with the staff. I’m looking forward to having edifying discussion with everyone about those books. This summer might be the last time I get to read books I want to read, so I’m trying my best to take advantage of it. There’s also a helpful and balanced emphasis on preaching. All interns participate in “practicums” where we have to prepare a short message and deliver it in front of the staff; this helps us work on different facets of our preaching and teaching style. We also consume inordinate amounts of soda for a staff: case in point, one pastor had a huge 52 oz. mug of Dr. Pepper at our first staff meeting and our fridge is stacked with all sorts of carbonated drinks. I’ll be hooked on caffeine by summer’s end.
But really, every person on staff from our senior pastor to the lowest of interns (me) brings a unique quality to the group this summer. One person might excel at connecting with people in their ministry while others just have a wealth of academic or theological knowledge; Some are more “tech-y” than others (*cough*JEE*cough*) and some are content with reading their antique books at a snail’s pace. Some of us have years of ministry experience, and some of us barely have our toes in the water. Our staff is like an untidy bowl of mixed salad: each ingredient has its own shape and color, but when you put us all together and add the dressing (our shared love for Christ and his ministry), we’re absolutely delicious. That person who’s better with personal ministry helps the person with the wealth of academic knowledge and visa versa; and nerdiness is valued for the most part. Overall, the ragtag makeup of this group makes things dynamic and creates a great working environment. And I’m saying this after working for barely a week! Needless to say, I’m definitely looking forward to what the rest of summer holds.
Pictures (top to bottom): David (left) and Jesse working diligently in the front room; Euphemio and my workplace in the back of the office (books galore!); JT and Jee “The Technology Master” joyfully working on a computer glitch.