Our youth practicum, which we refer to as the BOLD practicum, is a fun and fast-moving family to serve alongside. Led by Bethany Church's Next Gen Pastor, Jon Torres, this area of study at Bethany College is sure to push you further into your calling and equip you for ministry.
We interviewed Jasmin Preston, a senior that studies in the youth practicum and works on the BOLD staff. She shares some of her story below!
Why did you choose this practicum?
"I always felt a tug towards youth and growing up I always told myself that I would never do ministry because my parents were in full time ministry, but I came here and gave it a try. I love being able to speak into young girls' lives, help them go through stuff I went through, and help them not go through the same things ... And I love that there's so much going on in the youth practicum that you get to touch on everything, like missions trips, worship, leading a small group, going into schools, creative aspects, production, etc."
What do you get to do with your practicum every week?
"Every week we go into high school and middle school clubs, and that's probably my favorite part of the week. We go into some really rough neighborhoods, one area code we go to is the actually the most dangerous area code in America. We basically have a mini service: we have music while we greet and connect with people as they come in, do a game, have a mini message, discuss it, have a time of prayer, and then we close it out and have pizza.... We also help prep for big events like BOLD Nights and YTH Fest, have classes with Pastor Jon that always involves hands-on practice, and serve on Sundays connecting with high school and middle school students in our community... Staying faithful in my practicum led to a job with BOLD. I got my dream job! I am now the administrative lead for our department. "
What have you learned the most?
"Communication! Pastor Jon is super big on communication- whether it be communication with each other on the team, or communication while speaking. I didn't want to speak publicly but I knew I was called to do it, so I started out with the clubs and got comfortable with that, and then I started speaking at BOLD 57 (our middle school ministry), so little doors kept opening up....There's so much to do for big events, so if the team is not communicating, there will be missing pieces. Communication affects everything!"
"Another thing I've learned is to get everything you can out of this experience and do everything in excellence. If you're just sitting in classes because you have to, you're not making the most out of your time here. Do all you can to get everything you can out of this!”
How have you been challenged and stretched?
"Speaking in front of people (as mentioned above), and time management. This semester I've really worked on this. Because we''re so busy, it’s easy to get in over your head with school, work, and ministry. Make a plan + stick to it."
What unique opportunities have you had here?
"Getting to go into high schools has been amazing. Most states can't do that. Louisiana is one of the only states left. Coming from the West Coast, they would never let us do what we do there... Being a part of a youth ministry that's really growing and being able to have input and do stuff hands-on. Being able to listen to Pastor Larry Stockstill has been amazing. Gaining a community and living in a house full of girls is really awesome. And having spiritual mentors has changed my entire life. "
What would you say to someone that feels called to youth ministry?
"Come to Bethany College! You get so much one-on-one attention. You're not just one in a huge crowd... People are always calling us looking for youth pastors and leaders for their church. We get so many opportunities here for job placement through Bethany's connections...Listen to God. I sold everything to come here and I had no idea what I was doing. We had never visited but it was the best decision of my life. Just go for it!"
What's coming up in your practicum that you're really excited about?
“YTH FEST! This is our annual youth conference March 3-4 at our south campus. This year we're expecting 1,000 students to be here! The cost is $25 per person and there are price breaks and deals for youth groups.” Learn more about the line up for YTH FEST + register here!