At Smoke Rise we learn, but we also provide the opportunity for others to learn as well. Smoke Rise provides an opportunity for three seminary students to serve in our Ministry Associate Program while they are in seminary. While Smoke Rise has always had seminary students serve, three years ago we changed the program to compliment a seminarian’s scholastic experience with a practical experience. Our dream is that Smoke Rise Baptist will become a standard bearer for teaching congregations in Baptist life. Alice Horner and Justin Sizemore were the first two seminary students who were part of the Ministry Associate Program.
We have done this by creating a program that is more than a traditional internship where the students do grunt work and add a title to a resume. Instead, the Ministry Associate Program maps out an intentional purpose and focus for each of the three years the student is part of the program. We start by giving students of the program specific titles for each year. Year one students are interns. Year two students are associates. Year three students are residents.
During the first year of the program the intern engages in ministry exp eriences that help them: clarify their vocational call, develop their own theology and philosophy of ministry, and plan and carry-out ministry events. Valerie Lott is finishing here internship year of the program and reflects on what has been the most meaningful part of the program for her: “I have been given a chance to learn from other ministers in a setting that encourages young people to continue to strive toward unity in the local church. This opportunity is something that not many young seminary students may have, but is vital in the understanding of the global church. Smoke Rise has given me a place to learn, a place to worship, and a place of friendship.” Throughout their second year, the ministry associate begins to apply their theology and philosophy of ministry as they spend one month serving with each minister on staff. This opportunity helps prepare students for any congregational setting. “At Smoke Rise I have been able to see how, not only the Children’s Ministry functions, but how each minister facilitates their ministry using the gifts that each minister has.”
During the third and final year of the Ministry Associate Program students are expected to begin a new ministry, help it to grow, and make it sustainable once they are gone. Students also work with our job assistance program, a ministry council during their third year. Kristen Pope will be the first student to continue on into the residency year of the Ministry Associate Program. During Kristen’s residency year she will be serving with families in the foster care system. Kristen hopes that during her final year to give back to SRBC by beginning a ministry program that will last long after I’m gone.
This fall, for the first time, we will have all three years of our Ministry Associate Program filled: Kristen Pope will be in her residency year, Valerie Lott will be in her second year as an associate, and we will welcome in Harrison Litzell as the new Children’s Ministry Intern.