Rachel's Journal - Entry 1

I have officially begun my work as an intern under Brian Hopkins at Macedonia Baptist Church here in Longview. I actually began about a month and a half ago I guess, so this post will be pretty long since I have to catch you all up! I got back to Texas from Florida (my home) and immediately began going down to the gym (where the programs I'm working with take place) to observe on Sunday mornings and Sunday nights. Originally, in planning for this internship, Sunday nights were supposed to be my main thing, but I have a feeling that I'll be doing quite a bit more than that! I almost immediately began helping to facilitate a small group of the older girls on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and now Wednesday nights as well. In addition to that, I help Brooke (Brian's wife) to lead worship on Sunday mornings and nights. On Wednesday nights, I actually lead it by myself because she has class on those nights.

A few weeks after I got back into town, my Christian Ministries professor, Dr. Pat Mays, my pastor, Steve Cochran, Brian, and myself met for lunch to discuss the actual internship. I really enjoyed just being with those awesome men of God and hear their ideas on ministry and feel like I was really a part of things. But, at the same time, that meeting made it finally click that I was really an intern. I'm really working at the church. What an awesome responsibility! It almost freaks me out a little, but for the most part, it is exciting. At one point in our meeting, Brother Steve asked me what my goals were for the internship. I had to think about it for a minute, but here's what I think my main goal is: I want to build relationships with these kids! Sure, I want to be there to help lead worship, to teach when needed, to facilitate discussion, but mostly, I just want to spend time with these kids. I remember when working as a Christian camp counselor for three summers, that my first summer I was terrified of middle school and teen weeks. But now, looking back, those weeks when kids from about 5th grade to 10th grade would be there were my favorite. I really feel like late elementary to middle school age is the most moldable age of childhood. That age is when most kids become who they really are. They are shaped and molded into that person by their surroundings usually, so what better age to be present in their lives! That's what I want to do for these children. And I'm so excited to be able to do that!

Let me outline a typical week for me at the church. Sunday mornings, I usually arrive at the church around 8:30. By 9, all of the kids are there and we start off the morning in our classrooms with our small groups. Then, we all go out to the gym for our big group time of worship and teaching. We again split off into our small groups to finish up discussion and such after this. When we all go back to the big group again, I leave for church, and children's church begins. I go to the service instead of helping with the children's church time because Brian and I both feel that it is necessary for me to get spiritually fed still. Sunday nights, I get back to the church around 4:45, and we play games with the kids until close to 5:30 when they have all arrived. We have a snack time, and then split off into our groups, then all go into the big group for worship and teaching, and then go back to the small groups, much like Sunday mornings. We are usually finished by about 7. Wednesday nights, I get to the church around 6:30 and we all play games. Then we have a time of worship, and then split off the younger kids to small groups, and the older kids play group games. Then the young and the old kids switch and I go with my girls to our small group. We finish up around 8. In addition to all of this "church" time, I also go up to the office about once a week in an afternoon and work with Brian there on planning things. Right now, I am actually helping (almost exclusively) to plan a Disciple Now for November, and I'm sure I'll write more about that later. The biggest thing going on right now is that for Sunday October 2 and Wednesday the 5th, Brian and Brooke are out of town, and I have to do quite a bit more on my own than usual, so I'm freaking out a little! I think that's about it for now, but there will be more later!