After a challenging freshman year, I was stuck feeling lost concerning God’s presence in my life and what I was called to do. As I wrestled with my plans for this summer, Mark Snipes suggested an internship at his church, Tabernacle Baptist Church, an opportunity that finally felt like something to lead me further on my path to God and calling. As summer got closer, I began to feel scared of the unknowns that I would face and anxious about the task of meeting new people. Before I came to Richmond, Sterling asked me to watch previous live-streamed services to get a better understanding of Tabernacle. The first livestream I watched featured Ryan Corbitt playing an instrumental version of “As the Deer,” my favorite hymn for as long as I can remember. As I listened and felt tears welling up in my eyes, I knew that, although this summer would be challenging, I was prepared to handle those challenges, knowing that I was not alone, for the journey I was embarking on was a part of God’s path for my life.
I have always struggled to remain clear in understanding who I am and college does not make this task easy. With so many opportunities, it is so easy to want to be and do everything. When I entered this summer, I was in a cycle of deciding to change my major every two seconds, questioning if ministry was even what I was called to do, and wondering if I was ready for the responsibility of a 40-hour-a-week job. This summer, I have grown so much in who I am and my calling to ministry. Because Tabernacle is filled with so many different types of people, there was no mold for me to conform to, no group of people to impersonate. I had to be genuine. I have learned to be myself and to feel confident in my leadership skills, passion for youth, and love of laughing. I credit this growth to the kind and loving nature of Tabernacle Baptist Church, for you all have loved me for who I am, never expecting me to conform into a tiny version of you.
Throughout this summer, I have been so grateful for the opportunity to serve here. From quiet hours in the conference room to crazy, child-filled Sunday mornings, this place is never predictable and is always moving. Thank you for showing me new ways to do ministry. Thank you for all of the wise advice and kind words when I needed them most. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and open-arms as I entered the role of Tabernacle’s intern. For all of those who ate, laughed, prayed, and worshipped with me, I am grateful for your presence and friendship. I want to specifically thank Hogan Brock and the youth group for allowing me to become a part of such an amazing group of people, letting me experience leading youth, and for getting to know me as I got to know you all. I want to thank the staff for welcoming me as an equal rather than a college student, giving me responsibilities and opportunities that have contributed to the amazing growth I have seen in myself this summer. Lastly, thank you Tabernacle for becoming a place filled with people who feel like home. You have welcomed me as one of your own, filling me with new life and confidence to take on the next opportunity that enters my life.
Kate Clatterbuck Pastoral Intern Summer 2019