By Kevin Armbrust
“I’m really excited about these next 10 months,” said Gaylon Bonwell, one of the new Lutheran Young Adult Corps (Corps) participants. “Anything in service to the Lord. I really want to be His servant.”
On Aug. 10, Corps participants who are beginning a 10-month period of service were sent to their respective geographical areas during chapel at The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) International Center.
The Rev. Mark Kiessling, director of LCMS Youth Ministry, preached on Luke 10 and encouraged the Corps participants to bear witness to the love of God in Christ during their time of service.
Bonwell will serve in Boston, along with Sarah Johnson, who found out about the Corps when her dad shared a website link with her.
Johnson said she looks forward to her time in Boston for two reasons: “To grow in my faith and see if that could lead to a career. I would like a career that is connected to my faith.”
Three Corps participants will serve for 10 months in St. Louis.
Samantha Hoyt said, “I look forward to ministering to people who need Jesus and [finding] direction for my own life.” Hoyt will serve at Christian Friends of New Americans.
Rachel Freeman, who will serve at historic Trinity and Epiphany Lutheran churches in St. Louis, noted her desire to help people and to prepare for a career as either a Lutheran schoolteacher or deaconess.
Ian Burger will work at KFUO Radio, and he looks forward to combining two of his joys, technology and faith.
“As we enter our second year, we are excited for how God is using young people to impact ministry in urban congregations and RSOs,” said DCE Julianna Shults, Corps program director. “At the same time, their service is teaching, stretching and impacting them. As the program grows and changes, we know God will use both our young people and our partners to share the Gospel across the country.”
Lutheran Young Adult Corps provides either 10-week or 10-month opportunities for young adults to serve LCMS congregations, Recognized Service Organizations (RSOs), campus ministries and other organizations during a “gap” year.
Participants must be high school graduates ages 18 to 26 and members of LCMS congregations.
According to lcms.org/young-adult-corps, the Corps “provides a supportive, life-changing program for young people to gain valuable experience while deepening their faith and sharing Jesus through acts of mercy.”
Corps participants work with community partners who connect them with local churches and ministries. Lutheran Young Adult Corps has partnered with Concordia University Nebraska, Seward, Neb., and Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, Wis.
In the first year of the program’s existence (2017–18), five participants served for 10 weeks in the summer and 12 participants served for 10 months, for a total of over 19,000 service hours.
The following year, 13 young adults served during the summer of 2018, with five serving for 10 months.
Participants have served in Boston, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, St. Louis and Detroit. Plans for a new site in Milwaukee are underway for the next program year.
The work has involved 16 different community partners (churches, RSOs and campus ministries where young adults serve).
Two participants who are at the end of their service attended the Aug. 10 chapel with the new participants to encourage them. Both expressed thankfulness for their time with the Corps.
“I loved getting to know the community here and building a family through the partnering organizations,” said Jaylynn Bernhardt, who served in St. Louis.
Lara McComack also served in St. Louis and noted, “This has been one of the most fulfilling years of my life.”
“It’s been humbling and inspirational to hear how these young leaders have increased the capacity of LCMS congregations and organizations who serve our communities,” said Kiessling. “I give thanks for the parents, congregations, pastors and other church workers who have invested in the participants and encouraged them to serve in the name of Jesus in this unique way.”
Posted Aug. 21, 2018