By Sharon Mager
BALTIMORE, Md. — Two Towson University students, Steven (S.J.) Brown and Stanley Davis, served as Baltimore Baptist Association summer interns this year, providing a helping hand to many Baltimore churches while getting a broad look at local ministry.
The young men provided a variety of hands-on help at Church of the Harbor in Essex, Jesus Our Redeemer Church in Baltimore, Haven City Church in Baltimore, and Captivate Church in Towson. They also worked with Middle River Baptist Church’s Child Development Center and with George Blevins, Baltimore Baptist Association Disaster Relief Director. They moved furniture, stripped and waxed a floor, built a deck and a handicap ramp, sorted clothes, set up at a block party, and generally served in whatever ways they were needed.
“They were a huge blessing in the middle of summer,” said Josh Turansky, the pastor of Haven City Church. “They cleaned, moved boxes, and did general work around the building.”
Dianna Kifer, Middle River Baptist Church’s Child Development Center director, said the men did a lot in a short time. “We really appreciated their help,” she said.
Jeff Belcher, the pastor of Church of the Harbor, also said their assistance was appreciated.
Both men are new to the area. Brown comes from Sacramento, California, and Davis is from Petersburg, Virginia.
Brown and his family attend Bayside Midtown Church in Sacramento. He attended a worship service at Captivate Church when he visited the Towson campus with his parents last year. In January, Brown relocated to the campus and returned to Captivate, where he has been attending regularly.
He said he found Captivate Church comfortable and welcoming. “I enjoyed the family setting, and I also bonded with Pastor Tally (Wilgis),” Brown explained.
Brown met Davis through the university’s football program and invited him to Captivate.
Wilgis, who also serves as the BBA director of missions, saw the young men attending regularly and growing in their faith. Knowing they were looking for summer jobs, Wilgis suggested they serve as interns and provide work for BBA churches — a win-win for all involved.
The BBA hasn’t had interns since they were provided through the North American Mission Board’s Strategic Focus City emphasis from 2005-2008, explained Wilgis, and he’s thrilled the BBA can offer the program. “This type of internship not only helps churches, but it also exposes young people to ministry. They get a wide view of what God is up to in the city,” Wilgis said. “It has been a resounding success.”
“A lot of churches can’t afford to hire someone to help with the work, and some churches have elderly congregations,” he explained. They are appreciative of able-bodied young men with willing hearts.
Brown said he and Davis enjoyed the encouragement and hospitality from the churches, including the lunches they provided. “Many of them asked us to come back,” he said.
The young men both said they were pleased when they saw the finished projects.
Reflecting over the past months and the internship, Brown said, ” It helped us realize how volunteering can impact people’s lives; not just ours and theirs, but multiple lives. What our work does will impact people along the way.”