Jubilee Fellows program clarifies students’ call to ministry

Just before fall advising break, the Congregational and Ministries Studies (CMS) department selected twelve new Jubilee Fellows for next spring.  Geared toward offering selected juniors Christian leadership experience, the Jubilee Fellows Program helps train Calvin students for ministry. This year-long program consists of a 10 week summer internship, a fall service project and a CMS course in the spring of the student’s’ junior year.

In addition to their fall service project, the past year’s group has continued to meet throughout this semester. According to Natasha Kwik, a Fellow and speech pathology major, the class taken during the spring focused on “what the church is and ought to be, what it means to be in community, what it means to do ministry and what it means to be a pastor.”

This year the fellows come from a variety of majors, including religion, psychology, English and Spanish, engineering and nursing. While diverse in study, these students are united by their interest in Christian ministry.

Isaiah Moorehead, a psychology and religion major from Wyoming, Mich., had the opportunity to intern at Bellevue Christian Reformed Church in Bellevue, Wash., this summer as a Jubilee Fellow. Moorehead joined the program with the desire to get involved in the “raw” work of ministry.

Reflecting on his time at Bellevue, Moorehead described how it is difficult to be “on” all the time while undertaking the numerous responsibilities in his internship, something that the other Fellows echoed. In the future, Moorehead hopes to serve congregations through clinical training in psychology, allowing him to serve both the spiritual and medical needs of a church family.

In the program, Fellows have the opportunity to engage in tangible ministry. Moorehead has had the opportunity to preach twice. The first time, Moorehead was shocked by the request to preach at 10 PM the Saturday before, due to the pastor’s illness. After being given the minister’s sermon in the morning, he was able to deliver the message. Fortunately for Moorehead, he was given much more advance notice before the second preaching opportunity.

Emmy Luker, hailing from Grand Junction, Colo., and an English and Spanish major, served at Granite Springs Church in Lincoln, Calif. For Luker, the Jubilee Fellows program was part of the reason she came to Calvin.

“I realized ministry is the direction that my life is taking me. And I love it and want to continue, and Jubilee Fellows seemed like a good way to explore that.”

Luker shared that her favorite part of her time at Granite Springs was how welcoming  the church staff and congregants were, including her multiple host families.

“This opportunity was clarifying, because now I know that I’m really called to ministry.”

Serving at Journey Community Church in San Diego, Calif., Kwik was able to continue the ministry leadership she began as a Barnabas in Bolt-Heyns-Timmer. The Singapore native valued her time working alongside church staff and the closeness of the community at Journey.

“[I loved] being a part of this community… hav[ing] spontaneous conversations in meetings, over lunch, or even just in the hallway about the things God was doing and then to hear words and prayers of encouragement and comfort right then and there.”

Geographically, Kwik enjoyed how close the church was to San Ysidro, Mexico, where the church had a partnership with a local daycare center.

Originally from Niamey, Niger, and a nursing major, Zeb Zoolkoski interned at Crossway Church in Battle Ground, Wash. Situated 30 minutes from Portland, he appreciated both the nature there and a new city.

“I learned a lot from watching up close how the godly men of Crossway lead their families, work their careers, and serve at church,” Zoolkoski said.“Loving your family and having a successful career are both ideas valued by America. But America teaches that church is simply a good place to show up at on Sunday mornings.”

Students can find more information in the Jubilee Fellows section of the CMS Department’s page on Calvin’s website. If students are looking for information beyond the website, they can contact Program Manager Kary Bosma at [email protected].

“If you want to serve God with your whole life and are thinking about getting involved in ministry,” said Zoolkoski, “then I think Jubilee Fellows is something to look into.”