By: Greta Long
Ministry in the middle of a pandemic is hard. Not being able to engage with people in person, getting to go “grab coffee” or even being able to worship in person can make interacting with God really really difficult. The definition of “ministry” can be many different things, and this summer I have learned that ministry looks a lot like behind-the-scenes work. Preparing worship services, making cosmetic updates to the space, and dreaming about the fall is really challenging and rewarding work, even though it’s nothing like what I thought my internship would be.
Merge has been an impressive example of community and ministry that can exist virtually as well as in-person. Online worship and virtual small groups were well-attended, and students taking initiative to continue conversations and build relationships was inspiring to see. Merge provides many students hope and a home away from home, which they continually give back to through their time and talents! Working towards enhancing students’ spiritual lives is also tricky when socially-distanced. Having the opportunity to learn from Roxy and Jordan has been such a blessing. Being able to talk through ideas and dreams for the fall semester, while watching the Merge staff lead with an air of caution and preparation for students’ health and safety has been so valuable to my internship experience.
When looking ahead to the fall semester, and to the school year as a whole, I find solace in knowing that Merge holds students in the highest regard. The health and safety of students is arguably the most important thing to Merge right now, closely followed by how Merge can best support and encourage students’ spiritual growth.
Merge has been, and is continually committed to: making students feel like they Belong, helping them figure out what they believe, and inspiring them to become the people that God has called them to be. Knowing that Merge will continue to shape and change students’ lives is one of the things making me less weary about the Fall, and I cannot wait to see how Merge and the students within this ministry continue to thrive.