Early in the first semester of my senior year, I told my mentor that ministry had no place in my career. I was set in my direction and aggressively searched for a summer internship while taking a full course load of economic courses. Two months later, I found myself sitting in a Thai restaurant waiting to meet my new boss and explore options for projects and opportunities within UniteBoston. She gave me an introduction to the non-profit’s origins and mission, and then we defined goals. I was able to quickly see that I had been placed in an internship with full freedom of creativity, which was the greatest opportunity that I could possibly ask for. I was given my choice of projects, so that my voice that would be heard, and then wisdom to guide me along the way. In my opinion, this is the best way to motivate volunteers, workers, and especially students.
I remember asking the director of UniteBoston, Kelly Steinhaus, if she would let me plan a small worship night in Boston. Looking back, I realize now that I had been a bit homesick for my home institution, Gordon College, and their charismatic worship nights where I would drum on a regular basis. I was looking for something familiar because I had just moved to Boston, and I was willing to do anything to play worship music again. Kelly instantly responded with bright ideas and her full support for the worship night.
I originally envisioned one guitarist, a worship leader, and I playing under Boston’s evening lights in front of maybe 20 people, knowing that Boston is known to be a dry area for religion. The worship night far exceeded my expectations, involving sound, logistics, and prayer teams, lights, a full live band, and 400 people worshipping in the same location as the “free speech rally” the week beforehand. I might need a few more blog posts to sufficiently explain the revelations, relationships, struggles, and miracles that happened in the process of planning, recruiting, and executing the worship night. When I had initially contemplated a summer internship, I honestly could not have guessed in a million years that this would’ve been my summer.
Because of my involvement with UB, my summer was filled with 3 am Latino prayer vigils, Saturday morning street ministry, genuine coffee talks, worship team practices, a few radio interviews, UB online maintenance, networking calls, worship night logistics management, and, of course, controversy over division. I could flash back to my economics lectures and easily explain why specialization and separation are both the most cost-effective and sustainable processes of productivity. But now I have experienced the power of Christian unity. I simply fell in love with the luxury of dialogue covering vast subjects and concerns far beyond broad statements or emotions. My internship made me more interested in the roots, the ‘why’ of situations. I became highly motivated to research deeper into the history of Christianity and what the Church, the body of Christ, is called to be.
As I reflect on the summer, I have a new value for connections, which helps me to see my future ministry, travels in Europe, and studies in a new light. I can see that relationships I tend to form too often have task-oriented objectives. Working behind the scenes of UniteBoston, I have seen God using this non-profit to heal the past wounds of Christians. I have seen relationships form based only on a common love of Jesus. I see my own wounds mending most effectively by collaboration with other Christians. That’s why I now break my ministry into two timelines: before UniteBoston, and afterwards.