For 17 years, Calvin Seminary has helped high school juniors and seniors face their futures (FYF) through theological exploration, conversations with professors, and actual ministry experiences in large urban settings.
After a one-year “sabbatical” aimed at retooling FYF, 24 students from across North America joined six seminary students in July to participate in the the newly named Dig program.
Like its predecessor FYF, Dig intentionally helps high school students uncover their future as they come to better understand their own unique gifts in the context of vocation. A key aspect of vocation from a biblical point of view is helping students explore how faith can be woven into their career choices by expanding their “boxed-in” understanding of ministry.
Even though FYF was affectionately dubbed “theology camp” by a family who has sent three high schoolers to Calvin Seminary for FYF, the Dig designers wanted to counter the “mountain-top experience” with a program that helps students develop everyday skills to grow in their faith and vocational calling.
According to Aaron Einfeld, director of admissions and enrollment management at the seminary, Dig was designed with an added focus on connecting students with their home churches after the Dig experience so that students could be mentored for further leadership development and discipleship.
Even before they arrived on campus, all students were invited to provide five questions they wanted to dig into so that their classroom interactions with seminary professors could focus on what perplexed them the most. And with seminarians as Dig coaches, classroom conversations continued in small group settings, and then in ministry excursions to Chicago, Ill., or Toronto, Ont.
The excursions targeted another purpose of the program by introducing students to the concept of a “personal parish” through eight days of immersion experiences. Along the way, they were also nudged to keep thinking of how they could be effective witnesses in their personal parishes.
Now back in their home churches, these Dig graduates have been matched with a mentor who is being supported with mentoring material from the Christian Reformed Church’s Faith Formation Ministries.
With a wise adult friend at their side, these Dig students will be encouraged to stay on their journeys of knowing God and knowing themselves, grounded in trusting and belonging to Jesus Christ, their faithful Savior.