Youth may apply for !Explore: A Theological Program for High School Youth when they are in grades 10, 11 or 12 for the summer program that immediately follows that year in school. Up to 12 participants will be selected for the program, which is divided into two parts.
In consultation with their home pastors, participants identify five areas they want to pursue. These learning goals are integral to the Group Experience and the Congregational Experience.
- a theological question or issue they want to wrestle with and discuss
- a spiritual discipline they want to practice to draw closer to God
- three ministry skills they want to test or practice more fully
During the 17-day Group Experience (June 28 – July 14, 2021), the !Explore group will participate in Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Assembly in Indonesia. We will select 12 applicants from North America to join nine youth from Indonesia to explore theological questions and lived faith and to visit beautiful parts of Java Island. This combined group will attend MWC Assembly meetings together.
Applications will be accepted until Oct. 31, 2020.
Worship and prayer are the bookends of each day, offering new ways to connect to God. In between is time for reflection and activities that build relationships, develop leadership gifts and foster spiritual practices. Faculty, staff, seminary students and !Explore participants are conversation partners for the theological study that !Explore fosters. In-depth discussions about God, the Bible, culture and faith encourage participants to ask tough questions and exchange ideas with others who share a commitment to the church.
!Explore will pay all costs related to airfare, meals and lodging, travel within Indonesia, registration for the MWC Assembly, and the visa entry fee. !Explore participants or their congregation will pay $500 in addition to expenses related to obtaining/updating their passport; spending money; and obtaining malaria medication and necessary vaccines. Each participant will need a current passport that will not expire before January 2022. (Many countries require the passport to be valid for six months after the date you plan on leaving the country you are visiting.)
The Congregational Experience comes before, after, or on both sides of the Group Experience. Participants give 100 hours of work in the congregation over five or more weeks, working alongside their pastor in a mentoring relationship.
During this time, participants test gifts for ministry while church members can discover new, vibrant leadership in the congregation and practice their role of encouraging young people to hear God’s call on their lives.
Each participant joins in ministry assignments in the context of the congregation, observing, interacting with the congregation, practicing leadership skills, receiving and giving counsel, and further engaging in spiritual disciplines and theological reflection.
The pastor-mentor, the congregation and the !Explore participant collaborate to shape ways for new ministry gifts to emerge and grow, and for new perspectives and vision to be valued.
- The congregation contributes $500 toward the student's stipend.
- Youth receive an additional stipend of $500 from AMBS.