Dream of Destiny is delighted to share the experience of one of this year’s internship grant recipients, Chris Everhart. In today’s post, Chris shares about his summer internship at Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park, IL.
I had the opportunity to spend the summer before my senior year as a Student Ministry Intern for Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park, IL. I spent 12 weeks with Parkview, assimilating into the church’s culture and the city’s culture as well. I had somewhat of a culture shock during my first week in Illinois – for there are plenty of differences between my hometown in Oklahoma and this sprawling suburb in Chicagoland – but that subsided quickly and I adapted easily. For my internship, I was teamed up with two other summer interns, which was a great, new experience for me. I had never done an internship in which I had other teammates. Because of this summer experience, I was able to learn many lessons in team dynamics and relationships.
Throughout my summer, we were able to serve with Parkview’s amazing student ministry team. The other interns and I were responsible for a vast list of duties. We were given the opportunity to plan the weekly high school events in July, all of which had different themes such as a pool party, slumber party, tailgate party, and a messy game night. We also participated in a C.I.Y. Move trip and C.I.Y. Engage trip with the high schoolers and junior highers, in which we helped the team prepare beforehand, led small groups and spent time connecting with students during the trips. Another big responsibility we were given was to be a part of the volunteer group which led Connect, the college-age ministry that Parkview runs. With Connect, we were each assigned a small group of students to lead during the summer, facilitate discussions after the weekly message and assist Haley, the coordinator, with the monthly outreach events.
Our biggest responsibility throughout the summer, however, was the planning and execution of V.I.P. Night, which is the end-of-summer blowout for the junior high students. We focused mainly on planning the games throughout the night, which ended up being the bulk of the event as well. The event is Friday, August 12 and takes a movie/theatre theme for the night, as with the church’s VBS and the sermon series in August. All three of these launched in the same week, which also happened to be the last week of my internship, so it was a pretty hectic time for the church and for me!
As interns, we spent multiple occasions helping other church departments. Sprinkled throughout our summer tenure, we had opportunities to help the Facilities department in preparing the church’s rooms and lobbies for different events and occasions, we were able to serve during weekend services by filling in for offering and communion teams when a need arose, and we helped with baptism-related tasks. The most tremendous task of the summer in which we assisted another department was the return of vacation bible school (VBS). For the last four or five years, Parkview did not run a summer VBS program, so when it was announced this summer that VBS would be making its return at the end of this summer, the congregation was ecstatic! We had hundreds of children signed up, and even more volunteers hoping to be a part of it! Though crazy, it was a wonderful time for the whole church.
My favorite subject to talk about from this summer pertains to my host family, the Webbs. I stayed with this family of four (mother, father, and two boys, one in junior high and one in elementary) for the whole duration of my internship. From day one, they welcomed me into their home and treated me as family, often introducing me to other people as the “older brother/son”. Through the summer, I was able to spend a great portion of my time with my host family, ranging from the group of us simply sitting down together and watching some TV, to going to the block parties in our neighborhood together. Some of my favorite memories with them involve all of us simply just circled up to play board games and card games against each other, which there were plenty of.
In all, I am so grateful for the chance to spend this small window of my life with Parkview Christian Church for all the lessons, experiences, and most importantly, the friendships that were formed this summer. Five months ago, I did not know a single person in Orland Park. Now, I can say I have made lifelong friends and family.
About Chris Everhart
Chris is grateful to God and to Ozark for the opportunity to learn under some amazing and godly men and women. He has been blessed by Dream of Destiny for its mission and vision. After graduation, he hopes to one day take what he has experienced at his internship this summer and lead a ministry.