Written by Cheryl Broetje, Cofounder and President
Jesus said, “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone lets me in, I will come in and eat with them,” Revelation 3:20.
Last summer, Broetje Family Trust became aware of a number of young adults in our area who lacked meaningful engagement with any community-based group. At the Trust, we believe that meaningful work is essential to our sense of wellbeing. In response, we decided to create an intern program consisting of jobs in each of our three areas of work (Servant Leadership, Community Building, and Philanthropy). We hoped to address the increasing cycle of isolation, loneliness, and depression from the past, and growing anxiety with respect to the future.
In addition to a job, we encouraged our interns to attend daily chapel, weekly all-staff meetings of fellowship, workshops, and small focus groups. They also participated in our Servant-Leadership course! In these groups we learn more about identity:
- Who am I? What is my identity?
- Where do I come from?
- Why am I here?
- What unique gifts and talents has God given me?
- Where might they be applied? (Frederick Buechner, a theologian, author, and pastor who died this month at age 96, is most often credited with a famous quote about call: “it lies in the intersection between ‘where my deep gladness meets the world’s great need’”.)
During our Servant-Leadership course we get to know one another more deeply by telling our life stories. We discover that not only are we each endowed with many gifts and talents, but we are all also broken. As the course moves along, we often witness healing and even transformation at work. Participants begin to wake up. They notice that they feel less disconnected, more hopeful, with a greater sense of belonging and wellbeing in their lives. They begin to contemplate their purpose in a life which could be more meaningful and life giving for themselves and those served.
In many organizations, young people are siloed from the larger organizational community and can be overlooked for further training and development. We strongly believe that “today is the day that the Lord has made!” By including them as they are now, we encourage and help prepare these emerging leaders to choose to live life on purpose…with love, compassion, and respect, in community. We consider Broetje Family Trust to be a learning community and we are learning that so many young people are not aware of places they can go to discover their own voices, their need for healing, or a place to practice their leadership potential. It is in the process of finding our unique voice in community and acting on it, that we often sense a call and find the courage to invest ourselves in the service of others who may be waiting for a door to open.
Since their internship ended, Karen Castañeda and Lissette Mendoza (featured above) have both successfully interviewed for full-time jobs. Today, Karen serves in communications and Lissette finds herself working in a first-second grade classroom as a para educator. These two young women and other interns alike are living more deeply into their passion for service.
Who is knocking at your door these days? That frustrating neighbor could just be Jesus.