Young Clergy Academy launches in South Georgia

5/18/2015

Nurturing the next generation of clergy leaders through intentional mentorships

Call.

God has placed a call on each of our lives. However, between academics, family, and day-to-day concerns, it can often be difficult for a young person to discern if the call they feel is one into the ordained ministry.

In an effort to address this reality, The Board of Ordained Ministry of the South Georgia Annual Conference announces the creation of the Young Clergy Academy (YCA). The 9-month academy is designed to assist young college students in determining if ordained ministry is God’s call upon their life.

In the pilot year of 2015-2016, the YCA will support nine interns between the ages of 21-28, who will spend the academic year serving alongside a mentor pastor and church. The structure allows the intern the ability to “try on” parish ministry for the next nine months. The YCA receives substantial financial support from the St. Marys United Methodist Church Foundation, and additional support from the Georgia Commission on Higher Education and Campus Ministry, the South Georgia Conference Office of New & Revitalized Congregational Development, The South Georgia Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, and District Boards of Ministry.

Through this generous funding, the interns will be paid a modest stipend, while the mentor local church provides for room and board.

“We are excited for the opportunity to create and nurture a culture of call here in the South Georgia Conference by partnering local churches with individuals who are discerning a call to ministry,” said Rev. Jonathan Smith, a member of the Young Clergy Academy Board of Directors. “By allowing young people to try on ministry for nine months we are intentionally opening doors for growth and vitality for our conference and denomination. Both our present and our future lies in the development of the next generation of clergy leaders for our churches.”

The YCA has many goals, including the bold vision of at least half of the interns deciding to pursue ministry as a full-time vocation by the conclusion of the academy. Increasing the visibility of young clergy candidates, lifting up the call to ordained ministry as a way of serving Christ, and enhancing the ministry of local churches through young leaders are also desired outcomes of the program.

In addition to their parish experience, the YCA Board of Directors will provide guidance and support in other connectional ways throughout the internship period. The interns and mentors will be brought together three times over the course of the academy for experiences of overnight fellowship, retreat, and reflection. Through these group learning platforms, the YCA hopes to model connectionalism and combat the feeling of isolation that often plagues so many young clergy during their first, often solitary, pastoral appointment.

Is God calling you to consider ordained ministry? Is He calling you to encourage someone else to consider ordained ministry? Are you a church that wants to nurture and support young clergy leaders in an intentional mentorship? If the answer is yes, you may find information about the YCA, including application forms for both mentors and interns, at www.sgaumc.com/youngclergyacademy. The deadline to apply for the pilot program is June 15.