You learn a lot from your interns. Sometimes you learn that, if you are longing for Jesus, it's really the case that you can meet him in church, of all places!
Thanks, Chad Gurley, for this, reprinted with permission from the Final Evaluation he will submit to Vanderbilt Divinity School in partial fulfillment of his Master's of Divinity degree:
"Theologically speaking, on my internship I found a renewed connection to Christ and the love and grace I believe Christ freely gives.
The ritual and liturgy of the Lutheran tradition served to deepen my faith, and this both surprised and pleased me greatly.
I cannot adequately put into words how this summer rejuvenated my relationship with Christ; however, it did, and I now leave this internship with a real sense of better understanding as to why I want to serve and give back to humanity in whatever capacity God intends for me.
The cumulative effect of my Divinity education along with this internship has focused me and helped provide much needed clarity, in addition to providing me a real sense of joy I have been missing for a long time.
Lastly, I am excited to report that I have rediscovered the value of church and congregational ministry, something of which I was becoming skeptical.
Living in a country full of service organizations, non-profits, and charities, it has become easy for me to dismiss the work of churches. It would seem that secularly there is a great deal of ministry being done in helping humanity, thus the need for churches would diminish.
However, over the course of this internship, I have learned just how important congregational ministry is for our society.
First, churches allow for members of society, those in service oriented vocations and otherwise, to be rejuvenated and refocused weekly. Truly, spiritual nourishment is necessary if we are to go out into the world to do what God has called us to do, to love as God intends us to love. If breakfast is the most important meal of the day for our physical bodies, then communing with the earthly body of Christ is the most important sustenance for our spiritual bodies.
Secondly, churches allow for its members to cross-pollinate resources to better serve the wider society at large. Non-profits and service organizations can easily become insular and unaware of the resources available to them by other organizations not in their fields of expertise.
Churches provide opportunities for the body of Christ to connect to one another, for ligaments to be formed between the limbs, so as to enable fluid motion of care and support to a world in need of love and healing."