The Student Ministries program of First UMC, Lakeland, has reported its first pastoral intern stemming from a pioneer program that encourages young people to explore a possible call to lay or ordained ministry.
Brandon Hardy, 17, a senior at McKeel Academy in Lakeland, is receiving class credit this fall for serving as an intern on Wednesdays at First UMC. He attends church staff meetings, goes on hospital visits and participates in worship, weddings and funerals as needed.
Hardy is a second-year participant in MAC Track, the nickname for First UMC’s Ministry as Career program. The program is modeled after a similar effort at Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City, Mo.
Rev. Kirk Dana, First UMC’s Student Ministries director, said seven other students have joined Hardy in signing up for a second year in the program, and another eight students began the first-year curriculum this fall.
“Through the leading and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, Brandon is being provided with opportunities to explore the things God is stirring in him, to come beside him in his journey toward becoming a deeply committed Christian, and to offer training and mentorship that will help him explore and develop his faith and leadership,” Dana said.
“We are excited for his future and look forward to seeing where God will lead him on this journey.”