From UCM Ministry Connections April e-newsletter:
This month, we are highlighting our sixth Lilly Intern of 2017. This has been a wonderful year of growth for each of our six interns and for UCM. We are launching into a new phase of our ministry and we are so thrilled with how these internships, made possible by our receiving the Lilly Grant, have opened up so much to us.
Bax has jumped into his role feet first. He has wonderful ideas and a commitment to what we can become in the coming years. We are so excited to see him help lead us during the second half of his college years.
Welcoming the Opportunity:
- Bax says he welcomed the opportunity originally because he wanted to be more involved with UCM and dive deeper into his faith. The summer before his sophomore year, he spent quite a bit of time in Little Rock attending Mercy Community Church, which provided him with his first opportunity in a long while to study the Bible (aside from attending church most Sundays in his hometown of Morrilton). He saw the Lilly Internship as a perfect opportunity to not just keep his “new-found” faith (he says he uses the term loosely), but to expand on it.
- Bax is a thinker and as such has lots of ideas. We welcomed his pursuit of the internship opportunity because it is a great vehicle through which to explore various facets of ministry in a variety of contexts. Bax is currently a sophomore majoring in Political Science, Psychology, and Economics. He is interested in a number of areas of ministry from the policy aspects of social justice and helping ministries to creating community in and among college students and a lot of things in between. The flexible nature of the Lilly internship at UCM gives us the ability to engage Bax’s passions and ideas as they emerge and to work toward refining what is ultimately in the center of the “sweet spot” where his passions, skills and what the world needs intersect.
- Bax notes that choosing one aspect of the internship to highlight is difficult. The support system he has found in the people he has interacted with because of the Lilly internship is primary. Prior to this, Bax said he strongly disliked college. He felt lost all of the time and struggled with things he never imagined would be difficult for him. “The first semester of college is difficult for everybody; however, I felt as though I was the only person truly struggling. Though I have spent almost two years in Northwest Arkansas, it was not until UCM entered my life that things began to be easier and I found a purpose in what I was doing every day and why God put me on this earth.” Bax also notes that he has come to these realizations through the people he interacts with at UCM and the Presbytery. He would not trade it for anything.
- Bax has gotten the opportunity to learn by doing in several different areas of ministry. He serves regularly with the youth group of First Presbyterian, Springdale, and was an apprentice leader in the initial Kairos Young Adult ministry. Bax has become a very engaged participant in Dinner and Discussion and has sought out weekly mentoring (which is well beyond the minimum requirements). Bax is consistently seeking to grow in all areas of his life and puts time and effort into self-discovery. He is also deeply concerned about the people in his sphere of influence and intentionally makes time to help them in any way he can.
- In looking forward, Bax notes that he is having difficulty looking forward to God’s next call in his life. He says: “It is very easy to get wrapped up in college life where it feels like things are moving at 100 miles per hour at all times and everyone else seems to have a little bit more control in their life, a more clear understanding of where they want to be, and what they want to do, or a better feel for how to live. He says: “One of the things I find most difficult is getting to a place where things are completely quiet and it feels like the world is still, however, despite the challenge of getting to those places, that is where I hear God’s calling in my life clearest. This internship has brought me to those places more than ever before and I cannot wait for the next time this happens.”
- Over the course of this semester Bax has developed deep connections through UCM and a passion has emerged for helping others to do the same. As we are planning for next semester, Bax is helping us to think about new ways to connect students to the supportive environment of UCM from helping freshmen get plugged into the ministry to engaging upper classmen in deeper discussion and community. We are looking forward to Bax continuing to develop his leadership through the implementation of his ideas in the fall.