Partners in Ministry - Issue #203 (July 24, 2014)
For the first 99 years of Denver United Methodist Church’s 130-year history, fewer than 100 people gathered each week to worship. Today this rural congregation in Denver, North Carolina, has grown to over 1,400 members. With a mission statement of “Love, Learn, and Serve,” Denver UMC strives to be a sending congregation that is known for their love of Christ and love for others.
One major factor in this significant growth is an intentional focus on helping youth and young adults to hear and respond to God’s call on their lives. Since the late 1990s, Denver UMC has served as a ministry setting for Duke Divinity students to serve as summer interns. Several years ago the church decided to expand the internship program by funding internships
for Denver UMC college students to explore a call to ministry. These students are able to shadow the pastors and church staff and take on leadership roles during their summer break from school.
In the fall of 2012, Denver further expanded their effort to help young people consider ministry by launching its Ministry As a Career Track (MAC Track) program. The participants, who are 6th-12th graders,
spend ten months exploring different ministry positions, and have regular worship and discipleship leadership opportunities in the church. Currently, there are 22 youth involved, and this summer’s college intern is a past participant of the program.
As a result of intentionally investing in the congregation’s young people,
Denver UMC can identify four people who have responded to a call to full-time ministry, five college students who are seriously contemplating entering ministry after college, and dozens of youth who are interested in exploring a call to ministry.
Questions for Discussion
- How does your congregation support young people in discerning God’s call to ministry in their lives, whether it be ordained ministry or other vocations?
- Are there people who, if asked, would be excited to invest in extra-mile giving that would support internships for young adults in the congregation?
- In what ways could your congregation be more intentional in developing leaders?