DiscoverU: Youth discerning their gifts, their passions, their calling

By Bonnie MacDonald

Youth and young adults in the West Virginia Conference have been yearning for supportive space to discern what God is doing in their lives. They are asking meaningful questions that invite the time and attention of those who care about them and want to support them. They are excited to explore their hopes and dreams for the future and how they imagine they will be living faithfully in it.

Discovery internships and DiscoverU are designed by and for youth and young adults, in order to provide these kind of opportunities for exploration.

Discovery will open up opportunities for young adults to initiate internships, based on the types of ministry connections they want to explore.

This summer three interns will be participating in 10-week internships they have helped to create. Erin Sears’ internship is with the conference’s Communications Ministry, Lauren Shanholtzer’s internship is with the conference’s Young Disciples and Outdoor Ministry, and Amanda Webb’s internship is with the Upshur Parish House and Crosslines.

Discovery will provide flexibility for future interns to collaborate with various ministry settings throughout the year.

Discovery internships are funded by the Board of Ordained Ministry and by the local ministry setting.

DiscoverU will bring together youth and young adults, ages 16-23, for a one-week opportunity to shadow a wide variety of leaders in ministry and learn about potential paths for living out their calling.

During July 22-28, 2018, pairs of students will experience what ministry is like with clergy and laity in the Charleston area. They will also spend time together in worship, fun and reflection.

DiscoverU is being funded by a grant through the Young Clergy Initiative (YCI) of the UMC.

We look forward to what each of these young people will discover as they explore their gifts, their calling, and their passion for ministry throughout the West Virginia Conference and beyond. We invite your prayers and support for all of them.

Who might you need to encourage to be discovering God’s calling in their lives?  We’d love to help you explore! — Shea James, director of young disciples and outdoor ministries and Bonnie MacDonald, director of leadership formation and ministry support.

 What our Discovery interns are saying:

My passions…

God is love

We are loved completely and perfectly

Passionate about poverty

How do I support low income families?

I want to be an example of God’s love in the world

My heart is broken when I see hatred and violence

I want everyone to feel valued and loved


My gifts….

Excited to explore

Teaching is my spiritual gift

How do I use my position to help others?


My calling….

God might have a different plan than I do

How do I work through what my calling may be in ministry?

Once I figure out my calling, how so I make the best decisions to reach my goals?

We have been created as disciples to go into the world