Explore Summer Ministry Intern Highlight: Savannah Smith, Intern at Dilworth UMC in Charlotte

September 1, 2021

Savannah Smith, a sophomore at Appalachian State University, interned at Dilworth United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC, with the Rev. Cade Barefoot, Associate Pastor, and Rev. Michelle Chappel, Lead Pastor, as her clergy mentors for the summer.

Savannah grew up in the Methodist Church and she recalls, “For a long time being a Christian just felt like another part of life, something that everyone did just because that’s how life goes. I didn’t realize that church was this choice people made. I guess I never realized it was really a belief that people had. I came to learn this in a simple way, yet it rocked my world. When I was in 5th grade a girl joined our class and I grew to become good friends with her. One day she told me that her family didn’t believe in God. I never considered God to be something that people wouldn’t believe in. Not because I was close to him or had some deep belief in him myself, but more so because God was just a fact of life to me.” She goes onto share that this experience opened a floodgate of questions about God and humanities’ relationship with God.
While in high school Savannah had a conversation with a friend who affirmed for her, she was being called by God. She realized, “God really does use us even when we don’t realize it.” She went on to write and post devotions on Instagram and she says, “I received feedback from girls I had never spoken to before, claiming that my posts spoke to them and helped them in so many different ways.”
Earlier this spring, Savannah’s mother was having a phone conversation with Rev. Jill Rhinehart, the family’s pastor at Central United Methodist Church in Albemarle. Rev. Rhinehart was checking in with the family and catching up with how everyone was doing. As they discussed Savannah, she shares her mother, “…explained how she believed I would do something in ministry but didn’t know what that would like. Apparently, the preacher got really excited over this news and informed my mom about an email she recently received regarding young adults interested in an internship in ministry.”
Savannah decided to apply for the internship and sees it as God opening windows of possibilities. She says, “I don’t know if God is leading me to be a pastor, lay leader, or what. But I do know that God has opened a big window, asking me to simply listen to his call and follow his lead.”
Savannah preached on July 23, 2021, at Dilworth United Methodist Church. If you would like to hear her sermon you can use this link Dilworth Church - Good Moring, Dilworth | Facebook


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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