By Anthony Sy | Ministry Intern, Redmond United Methodist Church
Many times in ministry when I feel I am being called to do something different I think of the oh-so-familiar phrase “God works in mysterious ways.” Truly, I have come to know what this means. I have found that this internship has been a way for me to grow in Christ in a different way.
The biggest impression Redmond United Methodist Church made on me was the level of compassion for others. As I shared in my previous reflection, Redmond UMC is an outward-oriented church, meaning it focuses on ministries geared towards helping the community. Most of my service prior to this internship was working with fellow Christians within the church. Redmond goes above and beyond to ensure that their time, gifts, and talents are shared with others. I was able to experience Redmond’s “Serve” in their Love. Serve. Grow theme on a daily basis.
Serving the people of God is not something I had been well versed in and being able to learn and grow in such a supporting and loving environment made it even better. A very important statement I heard while at Redmond is that we should not judge or stereotype other people because we are all just human beings; this was shared specifically about the homeless population. It is easy to make assumptions about people who are different from you, but if you treat others as you would want to be treated, you find out how similar everyone truly is.
When going through the phone interview process to be a part of the summer internship, I was told that I would be doing things I had not already been doing at my church (in my case youth, children, and worship ministry). Communications, council meetings, and event planning have not been my forte and I was worried, but eager to see how things would play out.
One thing that I have taken for granted is the amount of work done outside of what is seen on Sunday mornings. Pastors, laity, paid staff, and many others work extremely hard to make sure that the church is prepared for Sunday’s as well as other events that may be happening during the week. Being a part of the group that worked throughout the week helped me see the structure underneath the image we all see on a Sunday morning. Thank you to all of you who take time out of your week to help with the ministries and events for your local churches.
Something else that I was told during the phone interview was that the internship was about discernment – helping me find where God is leading me and showing me where I belong. From my experiences this summer, I now see the importance of youth and young adult involvement in church planning and ministries that involve the vision and future of the church. As many already know, youth and young adults are the next generation that will be leading the church. Making sure that they are aware of what is going on in and around the church is key to making sure that they are fully capable of taking on the responsibility.
After learning about the inner workings of this faith community, I found myself being called to bring up issues that I feel are important for the church to discuss. While talking to people in the congregation, friends at church, and even the Pastor are ways to communicate concerns, being active in ministry such as the church council provide a platform which can lead to immediate action.
Through this internship and discernment process I have been able to experience and better understand what it means to serve others like Christ. Also, I have a newfound appreciation for all of those who work for or with the church throughout the week. Lastly, I discovered new ways to be involved in ministry to address issues I feel are important. I knew I wanted to be involved in ministry in the future but was never sure of what was the best fit.
My experience through the Culture of Call has undoubtedly helped me discern where I belong in the church and where my gifts and talents can be put to use. I am blessed and honored to be chosen to be a part of this Culture of Call and I appreciate the church and the conference for investing in the youth/young adults of the next generation.
Praise God for working through this ministry and helping develop the next leaders of the church!
Anthony Sy spent his summer as a Ministry Intern at Redmond United Methodist Church, an intergenerational faith community serving the people of Redmond, Washington. He is one of seven young adults who spent their summer in ministry internships across the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church. Support received from the Young Clergy Initiative helped to make Anthony’s internship possible.
This post has been edited for clarity from his final reflection.