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ESTAR: Milligan College program helps prepare young people for lifetime of ministry

This article original appeared here in the Elizabethton Star on July 22, 2015.

By Kayla Carter

Johnson City resident Sam Konstantopoulos knew what God wanted him to do with his life, but was unsure how to achieve it until he found Milligan College’s Youth in Ministry (YiM) program.

“I’ve always had a heart for leading worship,” he said. “This is a great place to come and meet other leaders with like-minded ideas.”

The program aims to walk students through one of the toughest decisions of their lives.

“We’re learning how to hear God’s calling in your life,” he said. “Once you know, this program helps you understand it and go out and actually do it.”

YiM instructor Nathan Hall is considered an example of the program’s success. Hall attended YiM nine years ago and graduated from Milligan in 2013 with a major in worship leadership.

Hall was teaching the worship leadership class Konstantopoulos was about to attend.

“Many students who’ve come to YiM over the years are now serving in churches as worship ministers, student ministers, children’s ministers and in other positions,” said Phyllis Fox, director of church relations and YiM at Milligan, in a press release. “We want to show current YiM students how God works in the lives of young adults.”

The program, which is in its 13th year, is divided into three tracks, Fox said.

“There’s prepare to serve, prepare to lead and prepare for life,” she said.

This year some of the courses in each track included preaching, youth ministry, missions, creative movements, counseling, intimacy with God, defending your faith, college 101 and preparing for a life of service.

Since the program’s inception, the mission has been to increase the number of individuals under 35 years old who go on to attend seminary.

“God brought together an amazing team,” Fox said. “Curtis Booher and Kit Dotson and I have worked together on this program for the last 14 years. We love encouraging high school students to accept the mantle of kingdom leadership.”

Fox described the people involved this year as incredible.

“They are all hungry to go deeper into their relationship with Christ,” Fox said. “They want to learn how to lead and do it in a Godly manner.”

This year’s theme is “Million Mile View,” which is inspired by Roan Mountain where students will visit on the last day of the program.

“We take them to Roan Mountain on Friday,” Fox said. “We do that because God calls on the mountaintop. So we take them to a mountaintop. We have worship and communion up there and they get to see God’s beauty.”

Milligan College provides an environment in which young people can sharpen each others skills, Fox said.

“Iron sharpens iron,” Fox said. “We are told that in Proverbs. We can create a nurturing environment, but it’s what these students do together that is truly incredible.”

Konstantopoulos, who attended the conference last year, hopes his time at YiM will help him become a successful youth worship leader like Hall.

“I’ve found great and effective ways to lead kids in worship,” he said. “I want people to feel comfortable through the process.”
Personally, Konstantopoulos is thankful for the chance to get to know the campus and staff a little better before he begins his studies at Milligan this fall.

“I appreciate the chance to be a part of this,” he said. “The program is sound. When we worship, you can really feel the spirit moving. It’s such an efficient camp. There’s never anything missing.”

For more information, visit YiM online at youthinministry.org.

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MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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