BROWNWOOD –September 24, 2014– Three Howard Payne University students interned this summer with Oakwood Church in New Braunfels.
The students, who are enrolled at HPU’s Brownwood campus, are Brandon “Beaux” Pace, a junior Christian education major from Magnolia; Francis Schmaltz, a freshman Christian education major from Grand Prairie; and Kelsan Wolverton, a junior cross-cultural studies and Bible major from Lampasas.
The students completed a “360 Internship” in which they rotated between pastoral ministry, creative arts ministry, children’s ministry, student ministry and administration/facilities.
According to Pace, the time the students spent with Ray Still, Oakwood senior pastor and HPU Board of Trustees member, was “invaluable.”
“I think the biggest thing that I learned from this summer was that no matter the size of the church and no matter the amount of work you may have to do, the people come first,” said Pace. “I have never seen a church that has been so in tune with the word and the will of the Father.”
Schmaltz said the internship helped him to decipher God’s calling in his life.
“Each rotation gave me different challenges and showed me my own strengths,” he said. “It forced me to rely on God or fail of my own accord. I grew so much over the 10 weeks there.”
Wolverton said she also grew in her spiritual walk with the Lord. Among other tasks, she helped research Sunday School curriculum and create advertisements for an upcoming church conference. She also had the opportunity to substitute for the high school minister for a week.
“My father was a youth minister when I was growing up and it was a great experience to be able to fill a similar role,” she said.
HPU has had a presence in New Braunfels since 2012 when it was announced that a permanent campus would be constructed as part of the Veramendi development project.
“We’re very thankful for the opportunities provided to HPU students through Oakwood Church and Rev. Still,” said Dr. Dale Meinecke, assistant vice president for external programs and church relations. “The entire New Braunfels community has been very welcoming to the university and we’re grateful for the support.”
Until the permanent structure is completed, HPU is offering dual-credit, undergraduate and graduate courses at New Braunfels High School, online and at 1259 Loop 337 North, Suite #100.
For more information about the HPU New Braunfels Center, please visit www.hputx.edu/newbraunfels or call (830) 629-2366.
Photo cutline: Three HPU students were among the summer interns at Oakwood Baptist Church in New Braunfels. The interns included, from left, Holmes Lybrand, University of Texas; Francis Schmaltz, HPU; Kelsan Wolverton, HPU; Denae Dreessen, Houston Baptist University; and Beaux Pace, HPU.