Happy Monday! I know that those two words don’t seem like they should be used in the same sentence but I am just really enjoying this morning and this day. I’ve just started re-reading the book of James, and it’s interesting to see how we are called to manage the day-to-day and find joy in the process.
Anyways, I did want to write a little bit about my experience at my first internship at Cross Point Church because it’s been so, so wonderful and I’ve been asked a lot about it! As a Social Entrepreneurship major at Belmont, we are required to intern the spring semester of junior year. I wanted to be somewhere that was working with community development and would allow me to have a hands-on experience in working towards that goal.
Coming to the Dream Center was exactly that. Not only is it a branch of one of Nashville’s largest-reaching churches, it also doubles as a food bank, dental clinic, recovery program, community garden and more. Coming to this place reminded me of my reading in James today:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. —James 1:27
Church was meant to be simple. It’s a place where broken people can come and me made whole by the love of Christ, and then help others find that same healing.
My first day of interning was last Tuesday. I’d only been to the center on a tour, and that evening, the food bank was open and there was a community group coming in to volunteer. What’s more, my internship supervisor had to leave for the evening just as I arrived, and left me with a list of things that needed to be done and put me in charge. Me? A first-day intern. This was certainly, as she put it, trial by fire.
Being put in that kind of situation made me so nervous! There was so much to be done and so little that I knew. But as I took a breath to try and clear my head, I realized that this internship was really just about people. Getting to know them, hearing their stories, and doing little things with a lot of love that would show them just how much they were cared for. So I stopped worrying about the list in my hand and started looking at the people around me. I got to know some of the volunteers at the Dream Center who were there every day for years. Their continued patience and giving even when I’m sure they didn’t feel like it is the reason the Dream Center exists. When the community group volunteers came, I was still a little scared that they were A. all older than be and B. knew more about the Dream Center than I did. However, they were all super nice and we were able to work together on the projects at hand and get everything done!
Sunday was an awesome experience. I felt like I wanted to become best friends with everyone who walked through the door. Helping prepare the house of the Lord for service was really cool—I realized that there are so many things that we take for granted when we walk through the doors of church that are all possible by somebody else’s careful hands. It was almost that much cooler being able to go to service knowing that I had helped be a part of it. Afterwards, there was a lunch for single moms, which gave me a chance to meet them and hang out with their ADORABLE kids. Also, there was a baby puppy wandering around, which all in all meant it was going to be a great day.
I was a little apprehensive about how the fact that my world and the world of the people around me were going to be so different. In a lot of senses, they were. The Sunday morning sermon on finances meant a much different thing to me, a college student who worries about not being able to go out to dinner, versus a parent who doesn’t even know if there will be dinner. That was an eye-opener, for sure.
But we all serve the same God. One who cares for us and calls us to love Him from where we are. One who takes all of our hurts and cares about us the same way, even when we tend to compare the gravity of our problems with others. It’s also this same God who carved out a Holy Spirit shaped hole in our hearts, one that would cause us to look around to the needs of those around us and share that same love. The question is, will we respond to that call?
I am so excited to be working at the Dream Center this semester and hope to be writing about my experiences as I go along. I am excited to be able to use the gifts and talents that God has blessed me with, and to be taught so many lessons by those around me.
Thanks for reading and have a blessed Monday!