Being a Kairos intern this summer has definitely changed my life in more ways than one. I had certain expectations coming into this internship that came with their own set of worries and concerns. As early as my first full week working at Grace, they were exceeded by a level I never thought possible. My first day was very intimidating seeing all of the tasks and meeting eighteen other fellow interns, who would soon become some of my new closest friends I hope to stay connected to for years and years to come. I have made so many memories and changes in my life that have given me a sense of excitement for what the Lord has next for me.
To debrief my summer with Kairos, I want to share what I have learned about the Children's Ministry and the staff that works there. I have a great appreciation for what the Children's Ministry staff does. Before beginning my internship, I could never imagine the hours these people put into the children at Grace. From an outside perspective, the staff seem to have tons of fun, including doing fun skits and making crafts with your children, but it is so much more than just that. Although the Children's Ministry office is one of the most fun offices I have worked in, it is also a very hard-working and intense place. One of my main projects this summer was doing a lot of organizational and administrative tasks to get ready for the Camp Grace Summer Camp for 3rd & 4th graders. I couldn't imagine that the staff did all of the work I was participating in. It took me hours to create a simple driver's list, only for it to get revised seven times, even the day of camp. This was very frustrating to me, but seeing the way the staff handled this and similar situations was very humbling and encouraging. I was constantly reminded by the staff's words and quiet actions that we are here working to glorify our Almighty God and spread His Word to the young hearts here at Grace Church. As for me studying Elementary Education, I hope to incorporate this work ethic and love for my future students. All in all, it has become very apparent to me how important and vital of a role the Children's Ministry and its staff at Grace and any church plays in its foundation.
A few other things I learned throughout the summer about myself and in a work-related situation are organizational stills, to trust and obey, and a goal of furthering my dependence on God. Firstly, to tie into the many tasks I was involved in this summer, came a necessary skill of organization. I am a pretty neat person all around, but working in the Children's Ministry required a new form of it. I had several tasks from people with due dates that I had to manage and balance. It was very helpful to see the staff work. The way they managed their time, relationally, in the office, and with children was very helpful for me. Secondly, I learned something I was taught before - to trust and obey. I was faced with several challenges this summer I never thought I would have to face, and I was forced to trust and obey God in those times of controversy. No other source could help me with my trials except my Lord God. A verse that a good girl friend shared with me this summer was Isaiah 54:5, "For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven's Armies is his name!" I found a great amount of comfort in this verse because it gave me a reminder that God is eternal and will never leave me, so He should be my focus and the One I place my trust in and submit to. Finally, another area I learned a great deal about this summer that goes hand-in-hand with trust is a goal I have of completely being dependent on God. I know that it is hard to accomplish, but I am excited for my journey. A verse I have clung to dealing with this has been Philippians 4:6-7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I have learned that God is ever-present and there is no need to try to be independent because He is forever.
As a whole, my experience with Kairos has been awesome. I have benefited from it in ways I never thought I would, personally and spiritually. Kairos has been a huge blessing to me. It has taught me all of the things I spoke about earlier. Also, I feel like I have an entire new look on God and the Kingdom I never knew before. The lessons we received in our Kairos classes have opened my eyes to huge concepts I hadn't known before. So many of the lessons were extremely practical for me, such as Matt Williams' lessons on gender and woman's role in the church, and Bill White's teaching on the Gospel. I feel like I have several challenges waiting for me when I go back to school in a few weeks, but I know God is in my life and He is a shield for me to use to protect myself. Also, I feel confident in what I have learned, and I hope other people around me can be blessed through my words, like I was through so many people this summer.
I could never pin point my favorite thing about my Kairos experience, but I do know that I have made some relationships that I could not have gotten elsewhere and gained knowledge that is unique to this opportunity. Also, I got to do one of my favorite activities, which is interacting with kids. I love to be involved and get to know and love on kids. I feel like that is where God wants me to put a lot of time and energy throughout my lifetime. I am so unbelievably thankful for the way God has been moving within me and my fellow interns. It has been a daily reminder for me that God is active, constant, and a light into darkness. I would encourage anyone considering participating in a Kairos internship to do it! I have not been disappointed at all. I have had experiences that you cannot experience anywhere else. It is obvious that God is present here at Grace Church, in the staff, its members, and its community.
1 John 4:4, "But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world."
- Michelle Phillips, Children's Ministry Kairos Intern