Love Thy Neighborhood: Hudak Reflects on Ministry Internships
If you want to go into biblical ministries, but aren’t sure that you can find ministry internships in an area you are interested in, allow us to set your mind at ease.
Here at Grace College, we will set you up with real-life experience in the field of your major to increase your level of expertise, help you to find the direction you want to pursue, and give you the opportunity to put what you have learned into practice.
Stasia Hudak, a double major in Biblical Studies and Educational Ministries from Fort Wayne, Indiana, gives us a window into her internship at Love Thy Neighborhood, an organization devoted to equipping young adults to do justice in Louisville, Kentucky. In this Q + A, she dives into her experience serving as the summer college ministry assistant.
What brought you to Love Thy Neighborhood?
Stasia: I heard about the program through my friend, Abi Woods, now a Grace graduate, who was going for a year-long ministry internship. There are not a lot of options for women in ministry that aren’t geared toward children, and I was really looking to minister to college-age individuals.
Tell us about your role. What did an average day look like for you?
Stasia: Each day, I would check with my boss to see what needed to be done. So it varied from day to day, but some of my tasks included going through emails, creating a social media promotion plan, researching outreach strategies, calling other college ministries, and setting up interviews with their leaders, preparing for a mission trip, and even learning songs and programming for Vacation Bible School!
How did your experience change your perspective?
Stasia: My internship lasted for ten weeks. Here are some of the main things I learned over that time:
- I learned a lot about the world. I live near downtown Fort Wayne, which is vastly different from downtown Louisville. Drugs and homelessness are more prominent; in fact, there was a block of homeless tents near where I was living. My friend was actually involved in a ministry for homeless people while we were there, and she would come back with all kinds of stories, but those kinds of things are more “normal” there.
- You definitely need street smarts for some ministry internships, and this was true for mine. You will get catcalled if you’re a girl. It’s also the city where Breanna Taylor died, so we talked a lot about racism while I was there. There is also more racial diversity in Louisville than in Fort Wayne. I learned a lot about that, and, again, I grew a lot as a person.
- Inner-city ministry is not always “safe” by worldly standards. I learned that it’s hard to walk that line of loving people and being smart. That was probably the hardest thing while I was there. Now, I will walk with the loving confidence of Jesus and a bottle of pepper spray.
- An experience I loved was that I became good friends with a roommate and we went around to a bunch of local places, coffee shops, and bookstores, and we got to talk to the local people and even became regulars at a coffee shop.
- I also got to plan a lot of events for this school year. I still follow them on Instagram, so I get to see the fruits of my labor even though I’m not there. It’s really fun to get to see that.
What hesitations did you have about the internship and how did you overcome them?
Stasia: If I had my way, I would have backed out, but my sister was also going to work there and I knew if I backed out she would too and I wanted to be a good example. I was nervous because it was far away from home, about four hours away, and I had never lived in a city as big as Louisville before. I was also placed downtown where I knew crime rates were higher than in Fort Wayne where I’m from. I got through it with a lot of prayers. Basically, I told God, “Ok, if you want me to do this then it’s up to you to get me through it.”
What advice would you give to students looking for ministry internships?
Stasia: Don’t be surprised when it’s different from what you signed up for or from what you expected. Be willing to learn from whatever it is. I learned a lot about what I didn’t want to do. I realized that I did not want to do college-age ministry. I also learned that a lot of long-distance traveling wouldn’t be good for me; I want it to be someplace where I can take root and really invest in people.
I grew a lot as a person in Louisville and it is just as valuable learning what you don’t want to do as learning what you do want to do. Experience is super valuable, bad or good. Ministry internships, or any internship for that matter, aren’t just about getting job experience, but they’re also about learning more about the world.
Now that you’ve had the internship, what do you want to do?
Stasia: I would really like to be a mentor and focus on discipling. I do really well with one-on-one relationships where I can really invest my time and energy into another person.
Through her internship experience, Stasia was able to narrow down her goals within her field of ministry. You can too! Come check out our School of Ministry Studies and hear what students and professors have to say about opportunities in ministry internships for you!
Have you already decided that biblical ministries at Grace College is the path for you? Apply now!