Next Gen Intern Called to Children’s MinistryMarch 16, 2017
Hello! I’m Juli Rairigh. I serve as the Director of Children’s Ministry at Elizabethtown BIC Church where I oversee Sunday morning and weekday programs for children ages birth through third grade. I began in this role in May of 2011, and to this day, continue to consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to walk alongside young children, share the good news of Jesus with them, and watch as they process, engage and seek to embrace what a relationship with Jesus looks like.
When did God begin to direct me toward vocational ministry? Ministry has always been an important part of my life. Much of my childhood was spent journeying with my parents as they served in leadership roles within several church settings – from established churches to church plants. I observed my mom lead worship through her roles as a worship director and organist. I observed my father pastor, cast vision for, encourage and equip groups of people to love God and live out their faith by serving Him in their communities. It wasn’t until I entered college that I began to sense how God provided these formational childhood experiences to impress upon my heart a desire to serve Him through vocational ministry.
In the summer of 2009, I began to step out and test the waters through a summer internship. I served as a BIC NextGen intern and worked with four other NextGen interns to create and share a Vacation Bible School program with children in Atlantic Conference churches. Not only did God bless me with friendships through the internship and provide an opportunity for me to develop leadership skills, but also He opened my eyes to a new passion – that of building relationships with children and sharing with them God’s Truth and Love.
In the fall of 2009, I transferred from Grove City College, where I majored in Accounting, to Messiah College with plans to major in Christian Ministries with a Youth Ministry concentration. God further blessed me with opportunities to discern, develop and use my gifts as I served as a BIC children’s ministry intern at The Bridge (Hummelstown, PA); LifePoint (Harrisburg, PA); and Elizabethtown BIC where I transitioned into full time children’s ministry after graduating from Messiah.
Having served at Elizabethtown BIC for what will be six years in May, I continue to be amazed at how faithful God has been in providing experiences for me to grow as a leader. In various seasons, I have wrestled with underlying fears regarding my ability to lead, my limited knowledge and experience in comparison to others, my ability to communicate with others well and a general concern for what people think of me. While it is uncomfortable to admit these fears, I know that no leader is perfect, and I continue to take comfort in the fact that God’s faithfulness prevails when we let go of and allow our fears to draw us to God, to remind us of our great need for Him, and to recognize that He provides what we need and displays His perfect power in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9).
How have I seen God’s power shine in the midst of my weakness? I’ve seen His faithful hand in continually providing volunteers to support each ministry; in providing time and creative ideas needed to write lessons and prepare crafts and snacks each week; in the awesome privilege He provided for me recently to baptize a former student; in providing patience on days when keeping students engaged is a struggle or when a student has become ill and I’m called for “clean up on aisle three” ; in providing ongoing opportunities for me to hone my public speaking skills through congregational sharing and prayer times as well as small and large group teaching times; in providing opportunities for me to offer my musical gifts (piano playing and singing) for His glory with our Friday morning preschool music program; and in times when He speaks through fellow staff and mentors to provide encouragement and words of wisdom. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but one that represents my deep appreciation for God’s faithfulness and for the joy it is to serve Him in this role!