Explore Summer Ministry Intern Highlight: Matthew Waddell, Intern at First UMC, High Point

September 8, 2021

Matthew Waddell, a junior at Pfeiffer University, studying counseling and psychology, interned at First United Methodist Church in High Point, NC, where Rev. Willis Greene served as his clergy mentor.
Matthew is quick to celebrate all the people who have been a part of his faith journey through the years. He recalls serval, who include the members of the Victory Sunday school class at Pine Woods United Methodist Church in Thomasville, NC, Vince Murphy, and especially Rev. Mike Burris, who passed away in 2015. Matthew says that after Rev. Burris’ death and the death of many of his mentors, “I knew all the while that God was with me and had a purpose for me, but I just felt lost when there was no guide.” Then Rev. Keith Edwards, who was serving at High Point at Ward Street United Methodist Church and Rankin United Methodist Church asked Matthew to help over summer with worship services, the clothing closet, food pantry, weekly community meals at both locations, and different group meetings such as Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, and AA meetings. Matthew says, “That summer the spark was relit, making me realize how much more I enjoyed being around people and just being able to participate in ministry rather than sitting idly by and not doing much of anything.”
Since starting college, Matthew expresses, “It has been tough trying to figure out my next steps and I have struggled in trying to figure out what I should do.” However, he found Rev. Maegan Habich, Chaplin at Pfeiffer, as well as Rev. Jennifer Orr and Dr. Bellmore, who teach counseling at Pfeiffer, to be people who can see and name his gifts for ministry.
Matthew says, “My internship through the Explore program was a wonderful and eye-opening experience. Working with the staff and members of the congregation of First United Methodist Church of High Point is something that will be unforgettable.” This summer "reaffirmed that working more with the congregation and the older generation was what I am more capable and better at doing.” Matthew discovered there are ways he might integrate his love for counseling and psychology into ministry. “I can't thank the members of First United Methodist and the staff enough for being so open and welcoming to me.  Their support allowed me to be so hands-on in the church, which helped me to figure out what I am being led to do.”

Matthew shared how he was seeing God at work during WoW: Worship on Wednesday on July 21, 2021, at High Point United Methodist Church. If you would like to hear what he shared you can use this link https://youtu.be/7OIHM2CtS6w

The Explore Ministry Internship is for young adults, ages 18-25, interested in exploring ordained ministry through 10-week summer internships in United Methodist settings within the Conference. All interns are placed in a context where they can explore their gifts and particular aspects of ministry in a safe and encouraging environment. Each intern is matched with an ordained clergy mentor, and they get to shadow their mentor to do all the things pastors do. 

If you would like to learn more about the WNCC Explore: Summer Ministry Internship and how you might support the ministry please contact Rev. Annalee Allen, Associate Director of Ministerial Services, at aallen@wnccumc.org

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