Fellowship has a long history of partnering with Western Theological Seminary through the Teaching Church Ministry. The mission of the Teaching Church Ministry is to provide a congregational context for students to discern their call, develop their gifts and grow as church leaders. Wide exposure to Fellowship's congregational life and multiple ministry opportunities are offered, however, the student's growth and development always remains the primary concern.
Each year, Fellowship takes on interns from WTS who take part in the Teaching Church Ministry. Typically, each student stays at Fellowship for all three years of their time at the Seminary with a different focus each year.
Year One - Formation for Church Leadership:
The overall goal of the first year is to design a process that will enable the student to discover who she or he is within the Christian community and to begin to discern some possible dimensions of God's call. Fellowship's First Year Interns are Hannah Barker Nickolay and Nathan Longfield.
Hannah is in her first year at Western Theological Seminary and as an intern at Fellowship. She grew up in the small town of Orange City, Iowa. She graduated from Northwestern College with a degree in Theatre and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. A year after graduating she married a fellow theatre major, Jackson Nickolay (pronounced "Nick-o-lie"), and they have spent the last two years living in Grand Marais, Minnesota. Hannah loves reading, writing poetry, singing, watching movies and plays, and making food with friends. Hannah has a heart for worship design and scripture presentation.
Nathan is in his first year as a student at Western Seminary and Fellowship Church. Nathan grew up in Dubuque, IA and graduated from Hope College where he studied Christian History and Theology, Mathametics, and Management. Nathan enjoys playing ultimate, tennis, following Cubs baseball, and spending time with his wife Victoria and friends. He is passionate about theology, Biblical studies, teaching, and preaching.
Year Two - Cultivating a Vision for Church Leadership:
The overall goal of the second year is to provide opportunities for the student to develop leadership skills in the area of caring, teaching and small group leadership, as well as to grow as a worship leader. Fellowship's Second Year Intern is Laurel Pals.
Laurel is in her 2nd year at Western Theological Seminary and in her internship at Fellowship. Laurel grew up in Jenison, MI and was a student at GVSU where she studied music and philosophy. Laurel enjoys songwriting, hospitality, exploring God through creativity, and trying new things. She is excited to discern more about her call in theology and ministry at Fellowship.
Year Three - Acquiring the Skills for Church Leadership:
The overall goal for this third year is to provide the student opportunities to further develop ministry skills in the areas of caring, teaching, small group leadership and worship leadership - as well as develop skills in preaching and leadership of the congregation as an organization. Fellowship's Third Year Interns are Stacey Duensing and Julie Myers.
Stacey is in her third year as a student at Western Theological Seminary and as an intern at Fellowship Reformed Church. She grew up on a farm near Deshler, Nebraska and went to Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa where she received a degree in Christian Education/Youth Ministry. Stacey enjoys spending time in the beauty of God’s creation, music, being creative, and finding adventure in everyday situations. She is grateful for any and every opportunity for deeper connections- both with God and the people of God.
Julie is in her third year at Western Theological Seminary and is an intern at Fellowship. She has lived Holland since 2001. She is married to Burt, and they have three children; Jeremy is 20 and is working full time, Kayla is 16 and a junior at West Ottawa High School, and Justin is 11 and is in 6th grade at Macatawa Bay. Julie enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and is an animal lover. Julie works at Benjamin's Hope in Holland and hopes to expand her ministry to those with special needs.