Summer assistants serve churches

This summer, ten Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis., students served in congregations in Alaska, New Mexico, Texas, Indiana, Michigan, California, Wisconsin, and Kentucky. These summer assistants served with Spanish outreach, helped with sports camps, preached, led Bible studies, helped with teens, assisted in worship, made outreach calls, taught vacation Bible school and English as a Second Language classes, and participated in summer Bible camp.

John Paustian, who served at Peace, Eagle River, Alaska, is thankful for the opportunity. “Pastor [Brian] Hackmann got me involved very quickly with the church,” he says. “The experience you gain is a great step in the right direction to further strengthening yourself as a pastor.”

His hands-on experience was all the practical aspects of preparing for vacation Bible school: making sign-up forms, advertising at local businesses, helping build a cardboard boat float for two parades, and making door-to-door visits to get the word out. All the work paid off. “The VBS was a huge success and the church had over 150 children register,” Paustian says. “There were many families who were unchurched and we used VBS to visit every child’s home with a CD/DVD of the songs they had sung.”

Summer assistants don’t simply help a church with projects, they also receive on-the-job training. Paustian preached four new sermons, assisted with liturgy, and led Bible class. “Pastor Hackmann worked with me throughout all these tasks and helped me to continue to grow,” he says.

For all the practical ways he participated in the life of the church—and the bonus of a summer in Alaska—”ultimately, the best part was getting to know people and being a part of their lives, sharing stories, struggles, and even great successes. And that is what ministry is about—people,” he explains. “Getting to know them enhances how you can serve them in conversation, in your worship together, and in their life as a whole.”

Learn more about Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary at