by Cassandra Nagle, LEAD Intern

My goal as I pursue seminary is to be able to develop as a leader who understands the breadth and depth of Christian ministry. The LEAD Intern program allowed me the opportunity to interact with a church whose ministry partners and congregational leaders taught me about, guided me within, and led me through the beautiful realm that is the Lutheran faith.

Christ the King Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas is a physically magnificent church. The nave resembles an inverted wooden ship, flanked by a beautiful Bach organ to the north, which serves as a foundation for worship, and by a newly dedicated columbarium to the south, which honors congregational members who have died and emphasizes the declaration that “we are dust, and to dust we shall return” (Genesis 3:19).

The deepest beauty, however, is nestled within the minds of the children at Christ the King, whose knowledge of and excitement about the Gospel struck me to my core. A program called Godly Play is implemented at Christ the King in its Sunday school classes for kids ranging from preschool age to sixth grade. Godly Play leaders present Bible stories to the children in ways which allow them to wonder; they process stories, analyze what is important, question what should or shouldn’t be included, and search for how the story can apply in their own lives. I spent several weeks with kindergarteners and first graders, all of whom not only understand complex Biblical metaphors but also can interpret those metaphors with a contemporary perspective.

Like those six and seven year olds, I would like to take my newfound knowledge of the Gospel, illustrated through Godly Play stories, into the world as I continue my life journey in seminary. It is my hope to be able to keep the Godly Play program in my mind as I continue my studies, learning more about it and seeking ways to apply it to programs for children of all ages as well as for hospitalized or homebound congregational members.

Serving as a LEAD Intern allowed me to view the church from the perspective of a leader rather than as simply a member. I observed much of the work that happens “behind the scenes” in church life – pastoral meetings and visits, planning for Bible studies and youth group, and preparation for worship and special events. As I move forward in my discernment process and prepare to apply to seminary, I pray that I can serve future congregations with the same compassion and grace that was shown to me at Christ the King Lutheran Church.