“God can reveal things to you that you never thought were possible.” These are the words of Tiffany Ortman, 2017 Elisha intern at West Fargo Flame of Faith.
Photo by Jlynn Studios. Tiffany Ortman, Elisha intern.
Ortman spent the summer exploring what is was like to pastor a local church. “People have been telling me for quite a few years that I should go into ministry. I never saw my pastoral gifts. God showed me that my gifts do align to ministry in a local church.”
She found that digging into scripture and sharing her perspectives on scripture with others, was something she really enjoyed. “It was great to really dig into scripture and listen to what God was saying,” she said.
Ortman shared scripture through a web-based weekly devotional called, “Worship on the Road”. Each week she spent time planning a message based on the identified scripture for the week, designing questions for reflection and prayers. “On the Road” is a way for West Fargo Flame of Faith to connect with families that are traveling out of town or simply cannot make it to regular worship. It gave Ortman a chance to dig into scripture and experience an innovative approach to ministry. Photos by Dave Stucke, Dakotas Conference. Tiffany Ortman, Elisha intern shares her experience with other interns.
Another way she was able to share her thoughts about scripture was by giving a sermon. She chose to preach about how Jacob wrestled with God. Ortman compared pop culture experiences like the movie Princess Bride and Les Misérables to Jacob’s struggle. The pop culture examples illustrated how we all struggle and have some scars but God is there for us. “It was kind of stressful to give a sermon but I really, really enjoyed it,” she said.
Her mentor, Rev. Sara McManus, meet with weekly to plan “On the Road” and to plan and discuss other ministerial activities like Vacation Bible School, funerals weddings and a youth mission trip.
Tiffany had this to say about her mentor. “We meet weekly. I learned so much from Sara. I saw firsthand the love she has for God and how she just pours that out on her congregation. Her love for God and everyone—it just shows.”
The first week of the internship Ortman was involved in assisting with a funeral. She learned how to help others while trying to keep yourself in check and have emotional boundaries.
She went on a mission trip with youth and also helped out with VBS. Here is what she had to say about her experiences working with children and youth ministry. “I found out that I need to continue to grow and gain experience with children and youth ministry. A lot people assume that because you are younger that you will be good at working with children and youth. This is an area I definitely need to grow in.”
Ortman graduated from the University of South Dakota in Psychology with an emphasis on alcohol and drug counseling. For the past couple of years, she as been exploring lots of options. “I have had several random jobs. I was kind of thinking I would end up doing something with counseling and ministry. That is still on the table. I do think I could fit that with pastoring a local church,” she said.
She will head to Exploration in November to explore her options. While she is in Portland she hopes to check out options for seminary.
The Elisha Project is an internship program that allows the opportunity for college students to explore, discern their call and discuss with mentors and peers where God is calling them.
Students who have completed at least one year of college, completed the application process and selected by the Elisha committee are assigned to a church and mentor.
In the spring of 2017, college students and local churches were invited to apply to participate in the Elisha Project for the summer. A team of clergy and laity selected interns and host churches from the pool of applicants.. Click here for more information.