Wednesday, March 30, 2022 11:48 a.m.
Sixteen Grace College students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in youth ministry and 21 students from other disciplines recently returned from a spring break trip to Los Angeles. Photo provided.
WINONA LAKE — Sixteen Grace College students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in youth ministry and 21 students from other disciplines recently returned from a spring break trip to Los Angeles.
According to a press release from Grace College, the seven-day trip is one of two ways youth ministry students can complete the cross-cultural degree requirement to gain hands-on ministry experience in a downtown.
“I love the classroom and the learning that happens there, but what a great opportunity it is when the student can take the education from the classroom and connect the dots to real-world ministry,” said Brad Deetscreek, Youth Ministries Instructor at Grace “Going to Los Angeles provided an incredible look into other cultures and reminded our team of the deep love God has for all people.”
The student program included visiting churches, leading chapel services, helping with pantries and packing hygiene kits for people in Skid Row, a 54-block area of the center -city of Los Angeles where more than 8,000 homeless people are estimated to reside.
The group has partnered with two local Christian organizations in Los Angeles: Dream Center and Urban Center, both of which provide support to those affected by homelessness through residential and community outreach programs, the press release said. .
The students returned from the trip with stories and experiences that will shape their approach to youth ministry in the future.
“The work we’ve done in Skid Row and the pantry will benefit people more than we’ll ever know,” said Andrew Rininger, a third-year student working toward a bachelor’s degree in youth ministry. “It’s a reminder that God will work beyond what I see and it gives me faith.”
Emily Tonkovich, also a third-year bachelor’s student in youth ministry, agrees.
“The experience in Los Angeles was eye-opening for many of us, and no doubt it increased my passion for ministry,” she said. “The experience provided us with training that we could apply later in the day or week. It was so great to have the opportunity to immediately put into practice what we learned.
For Nick Hettinger, a senior youth ministry student, the application of his learning included an opportunity to preach a sermon during the trip, a momentous experience for Hettinger who will begin his first youth ministry position this summer at the Orchard Hill Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
According to Hettinger, the trip to Los Angeles is just one facet of the hands-on learning required for a bachelor’s degree in youth ministry. Students must complete at least 200 hours of youth ministry before graduating.
To learn more about the Bachelor of Youth Ministry at Grace, visit www.grace.edu/programs/youth-ministry/.
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