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Bekah Houff, Master of Divinity

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Bekah Houff
Master of Divinity

BekahWhat is ministry? In my eyes ministry is in the pulpit, in the classroom, on the streets, your job at the post office, a local restaurant, or a coffee shop anywhere God calls you to be a ministering person. For me, this year, ministry means a non-traditional (not in a congregation) placement involving lots of administrative work as I serve the South/Central Indiana District of the Church of the Brethren as District Youth Director for the next eight months.

It is important to note that much of my faith formation as a young person happened at the district level: serving on a youth cabinet, attending district events, leading my peers at various events, meeting and making new friends at camp, etc. Engaging these sorts of activities and people beyond my home church youth group deepened and strengthened my spiritual journey. These things provided an opportunity to discern God's call in my life--as a leader in the church. It is my hope to cultivate these kinds experiences for the youth and district I am serving through ministry formation at Bethany.

Like any ministry placement, it isn't always easy. Unlike my previous leadership experience, this district is smaller in numbers and resources, yet they desire a youth program that is vibrant in both. So, this is my challenge, as it is for so many congregations and church leadership, no matter what the denomination. But there is hope through it all.

Last year I experienced a personal transformation and affirmation. A group of youth who serve in leadership on the district level, visited Bethany. I helped serve these young leaders as they continued to explore God's call in their lives. As we led them in worship, facilitated discussion, and played games, I watched their brains churn, transformation occur. Hearing laughter echo throughout the halls of Bethany, I felt affirmed in my call to nurture and advocate for young leaders in the church. I felt excited for the future both for the Church and for my journey.

Kristy Shellenberger
(MA Connections)

KristyAs I enter my first year of study in the MA Connections program at Bethany, I find myself drawn to these two sets of words by Brian McLaren and Frederick Buechner. Being a woman who finds "deep gladness" in the combination of searching, struggling, and "questing" around the subject of the divine, I have found a home at Bethany: a home that provides the space and the people, the encouragement and the instruction