BY Jordan Bates

My Experience in the Ministry Student Program

Something I learned from my year in the Ministry Student Program at Village School of Ministry (VSOM) is that the Sunday gathering is actually the smallest part of what happens at Village.

What happens throughout the week is so unseen by our church. It’s not all fancy lighting, motivating teachers, and free coffee in the foyer. It’s Village Kids associates running around just to find a specific piece of material for a craft; production staff going back and forth to storage lockers all week; administration staff tracking people down to make sure they cash their reimbursements; Pastor Mark singing random songs loud enough to hear him all the way down the elevator and back up again. The examples are endless. Everything matters, every soul counts, there is a point to it all. The work week is so crazy, in a beautiful way.

Another thing that came about through the program was a new appreciation for theological literature. Ironically enough, I never enjoyed reading until I was forced to read a pile of books at once. Without VSOM, I would never have tried to indulge in some Tim Keller or Bob Goff (just two of my favourites now). I look forward to learning more from fellow Christians and church leaders about God through literature. However, a challenge that comes along with that is making sure to learn enough from God himself, through raw scripture. It can be easy to rely on the knowledge of others when you get in the habit of going to them for scriptural advice, rather than breaking it down yourself. There’s a beauty to figuring out the intention of each word in the Bible on our own, and we should be practicing that regularly. The Bible is something to be wrestled with, and should bring about questions, concerns, and inquiries, so tackle them by learning from and with others!
My future is so much clearer because of how God used VSOM in my life! When I started the program, I had a plan to go into counselling. The day before we were “diagnosed” with our Birkman Results (a component of VSOM where a company professionally and intensively reads your personality, skills, strengths, weaknesses, flaws, etc. from a biblical perspective – super cool and highly recommend), we saw our skill levels/interest in different aspects (literature, nature, science, music etc.). There happened to be a counselling aspect sitting at quite a low percentage for me. This indicated that even if it were something I pursued, I would likely not excel in or enjoy it. Through this experience, God taught me to rely on his knowledge before my own, even when I might already be going in the right direction. It wasn’t until a few months later that I took more about what I learned from God through my results, and discovered how exciting a career in accounting would be! I am so much more confident in my giftings and for my future. Less specifically, VSOM also helped mature me a lot. From respecting authority, to understanding more about the gospel, I am definitely different from the girl who first walked into the program eight months ago.

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