Kait Priest is following her path to ministry back to the place where it all began. As Ebenezer’s Summer Ministry Intern, she is gaining valuable experience and a whole new appreciation for the church she has called home since 2011.
Kait has been an active part of Ebenezer ever since her family moved to Stafford and joined the church when she was in second grade. She jumped right into KidzRock Sunday School, then graduated to the TNT Middle School Ministry, and was confirmed in 2017.
During the summer between 8th and 9th grade, she went on her first Axis High School Summer Mission Trip. Before they departed, Pastor Rob Lough presented each student with a wooden cross, instructing them to give it away to someone who inspired them. After nearly a week of serving together, Kait was stunned when a girl in her small group pulled her aside and said, “I want to give you my cross.” She explained that she saw God in Kait’s thoughtful contributions to their small group and to the overall mission.
“I remember writing in my prayer journal that she saw some skills in me, and that maybe I should use those skills in some kind of ministry,” Kait recalled.
She told no one, and the emotional high eventually wore off…until later that summer, when Ebenezer launched a sermon series aptly named Called.
“I was like, ‘Okay, God,’ and I haven’t doubted since,” she said.
Now a rising junior at Randolph-Macon College, Kait is exploring her call to ministry in several different ways. As an A. Purnell Bailey Scholar, she is part of a pre-ministerial program led by Randolph-Macon’s chaplain. Students in the group meet regularly for support and discussion, as they discern and develop their individual callings. Kait has already committed to entering seminary after college, with the goal of becoming an Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church.
During the academic year, she serves as a Ministry Assistant at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church in Ashland, Va., helping with youth and children’s ministries. In June, she joined the Ebenezer staff as a Summer Ministry Intern. Over the next two months, she will work alongside Ebenezer’s three pastors to gain experience at both the main campus and the Love Your Neighbor Network. She is already taking an active role in worship services and looks forward to preaching her first sermon in August.
As with any journey, the path to ministry includes both hills and valleys.
“The thing I enjoy most is connecting with people, talking with people, and learning more about them. I also appreciate the mentorship from the chaplain at Randolph-Macon, the pastor at Duncan, and the pastors here. They are all great at teaching,” she explained. “The challenge is trying to figure out where God is calling me.”
Based on Kait’s interests, the road ahead could lead to youth ministry, the microchurch movement, or Spanish language outreach. She asks the congregation to support her in prayer as she discerns her next steps.
“Pray that God will continue to be present with me as I continue to do ministry.”