If you’ve been keeping up with the youth blog, you would have seen that the theme for this summer is “Go & Be,” which is based on the benediction in the sanctuary each Sunday where we say “we will go out and be God’s people in the world.” In her last blog post, Kat summed it up nicely: “We will be diving into what it actually means to ‘go out and be God’s people’ by exploring how where God calls us to go shapes who we will be, and how who we are is the grounding of where we are called to go.” With our “Go & Be” theme in mind, I figured I would take the time to reflect on who God is calling me to be, what God is calling me to do, and where God is calling me to go.
Who is this “Jenny Spidell,” you may be asking yourself . . . I am the formerly named “Jenny (the Jen-tern) Johnson,” now a Mrs. as of May 18, back to intern for her third and last summer with FUMCFW Youth Ministries! I couldn’t bear to pass up the opportunity to squeeze in one more summer at the church that raised me before I have to put my big girl pants on and find my own church to work at full time.
I grew up at FUMCFW, and it was in this very youth ministry that I heard my own call to ministry. After graduating high school in 2015, I enrolled at Oklahoma City University full time to study Youth Ministry. FUMCFW laid an incredible foundation of faith for me as I left for college, and my time at OKCU was more formative and insightful than I could have ever imagined. God moved me in ways and showed me things that made my heart swell like I have never experienced before. I discovered new passions within my call to ministry and fell more in love with Jesus as I went. In May of this year, I graduated summa cum laude from Oklahoma City University with my B.A. in Religious Education, and a minor in Interfaith Studies.
Ministry is a constant process of discernment. As someone who likes to plan things to a “T,” I have given myself many a pep talk to reassure myself that it’s absolutely okay to not have all (or any) of the answers when it comes to where God is calling me to go. I can, though, say with certainty that I am called to ordained ministry as a deacon within the United Methodist Church, and I will be starting seminary at Brite Divinity School in August as a part of my journey to ordination. I can also say that God is calling me to swim upstream most of the time — to be a voice for those who have been muted, to be an advocate for those who have been told they’re not good enough or couldn’t possibly be loved by God, to be the best kind of neighbor to anyone I encounter, to be a better steward of creation, to challenge harmful social norms — God is calling me to be like Jesus, and to not be quiet about it.
FUMCFW is my safe place, it has been and always will be my home, and I’m so grateful that Kat asked me to come back this summer; however, I sincerely hope this is the last time my job feels comfy. Surprisingly enough, it has been my experience that it’s easier to feel and know Jesus in the uncomfy places, in the times when I’ve thought, “Why on earth did you pick me?” — Jesus has always shown up.
If we, the youth ministry staff and amazing parent volunteers, do our jobs right, the youth of FUMCFW will feel a little uncomfortable this summer. Jesus is going to show up in and around our teenagers (the last two summers have taught me that much) and being in the presence of Jesus has a way of teaching you who God is calling you to be, what God is calling you to do, and where God is calling you to go. By God’s grace, it will be so.
Youth Ministries Intern