At the beginning of her summer 2013 internship with the New Life Worship Center in Weirton, W.Va., Juliana Myers could barely approach the pulpit without her knees knocking together and her breath catching in her chest. The senior biblical ministries studies major at Waynesburg University felt prepared to share the message of God, but nervous to speak it to a congregation of more than 300.
“The most challenging part I faced was getting in front of the entire congregation; I had to get over my fear of having everyone stare at me,” Myers said. “Eventually I had to just say a prayer, take a deep breath and get up there.”
As she grew into the role and became familiar with the many faces she saw staring back at her each Sunday, Myers became more confident conducting children’s sermons, opening the service in prayer and counseling at Bible camps.
Myers, a campus ministry assistant (CMA) at Waynesburg University, said that her role of ministering to college students and hosting bible studies in the residence halls helped her to identify her beliefs and communicate them. She named her various theology classes at the University in giving her the confidence and biblical knowledge to develop spiritual curriculum for youth camps.
Rev. Dr. Jeffery Kisner, professor of biblical ministry studies at Waynesburg University and the teacher of Myers’ theology courses, said that the young woman’s “amazing amount of experience in youth ministry” speaks for itself.
“Juliana is kind and compassionate, possessing the heart of a servant and a quiet but infectious enthusiasm,” Kisner said. “I am excited for the way in which I have seen God working in her life and through her gifts to witness to God's shalom-making mission in the world.”
For youth camps, Myers’ favorite part of her summer internship, she began a series on creation and developed a sermon with visuals to harness the children’s creativity. She also chaperoned three young girls during an overnight camp at the church and taught a cooking club to interested young adults.
“I’ve been the leader of children at a few different churches before, including my home church,” Myers said. “This summer I really wanted to work in an Assemblies of God Church.”
Myers, who said she was saved at the New Life Worship Center and who has attended a few mission service trips with a group from that church, didn’t mind the 45 minute drive from her home in Wheeling, W.Va. to the church. She spent the drive mentally preparing for children’s sermons and activities, an activity she took very seriously.
“I think that working with youth is very different than the adult congregation,” Myers said. “It’s a very important age – when they learn who they are and when they develop their relationship with God. I wanted to help them have confidence in their faith.”
By helping young people to develop confidence in their relationships with Christ, Myers said that she herself grew as a Christian and as an aspiring youth pastor.
“I had to lean on God more and really listen to what He wanted me to preach to kids,” Myers said. “The internship was more than I could have ever expected. It has prepared me in so many ways to go out into my field when I graduate.”