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My Happiness Is in Christ Alone

By: Calli Hanson, Bismarck Legacy UMC

Nikoli Schmitke

Nikoli Schmitke. Photos courtesy of Bismarck Legacy UMC.

Nickoli Schmitke has been the Samuel Project Intern at Legacy United Methodist Church in Bismarck, North Dakota for this summer.  The Samuel Project is a summer program for high school students - specifically seniors before or after their senior year - who already feel God’s call to ministry. Nickoli has been able to explore his call by experiencing all the areas of Legacy UMC. Nickoli said, “I heard about the Samuel Internship from our youth leader, Vicky, and I wanted to see the different areas of ministry, to see if that’s what I liked or didn’t like, to see if professional ministry is what I am called to do.”

Nickoli described his experience. “During the summer I have learned and experienced a lot. I have learned a lot of what I do and don’t want to do. I’ve asked a lot of questions to the pastors here and really learned the process. I’ve asked what seminary school is like. My experience is I really do like preaching. I’m not a ‘kids person’ so that’s something I didn’t like. I got to experience every area. I got to sit in on an administrative meeting. I’ve never known that side of church before. I’ve really just experienced everything here. Getting to preach from a church firsthand was an amazing experience and really confirmed what I am called to do. Something that I learned from this internship that I will apply in the future is that storytelling can really be powerful and speak to people. I also learned how to structure sermons to get your message across clear and that’s something I will also use in professional ministry.”

Schmitke Sermon

Nikoli Schmitke, the Samuel Project intern at Legacy UMC in Bismarck, North Dakota, preaches his sermon on Sunday, August 1st, 2021.

On August 1st, Nickoli shared his testimony and preached the sermon. A major theme from Nickoli’s sermon was “my happiness is in Christ alone.” Nickoli said, “A really powerful and meaningful moment was when I did my sermon. Afterwards I had several people come up to me and say that they had the exact same experience that I did and the message I had really spoke to them. After I shared my testimony, everyone started clapping and applauding and it was such a beautiful moment that I will never forget. I had so many words of encouragement afterwards and those words of encouragement really pushed me to say, ‘Yes, I want to commit 100% to professional ministry.’ So, thank you to everyone who did encourage me. I appreciate it so much. Your words have been so meaningful.”

As the summer comes to a close, Nickoli will begin his senior year at Century High School in Bismarck. After graduation, he plans to attend either Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota, or the University of Jamestown, in Jamestown, North Dakota, and plans to pursue seminary after that. Nickoli said, “I have every intention of becoming a pastor because I believe that’s what I’m called to do.”

If you know a high school senior who may be feeling a calling to ministry, please consider connecting them with the Leadership Development office of the Dakotas Conference. You can also share this story using the links below, and learn more about the internship opportunities through the Dakotas Conference here 


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