By Jess Wisloski
Seven interns training in the Southern Baptist ministry moved into their new digs at the NETS Center for Church Planting & Revitalization on a recent Saturday and were bowled over by what they found on their new campus.
It wasn’t the breathtaking views from the former Pine Ridge School that stood out most, said Dave Appenzeller, when the interns and their families arrived the afternoon of Sept. 17.
“I think they were pretty overwhelmed, not just by the view or the campus, which is turning out nice, but really by the church’s showing,” said Appenzeller. “Christ Memorial Church came out in droves to help them; we unloaded seven moving trucks in a matter of two hours,” he said and more than 100 people volunteered to help the interns settle in. With a number of the interns pulling up after a long journey in their rented U-Hauls — recent graduates from seminaries in Boston or the flagship Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. — Appenzeller said the congregation was set on making them feel at home with prepared lunches and dinners. “The welcome wagon was pretty huge,” he said.
NETS, an offshoot organization formed by Christ Memorial Church, has said at capacity it anticipates having up to 10 students and their families in its two-year residency program, plus up to 34 students in its nine-month internship program.
Appenzeller said the interns are “hitting the ground running” with courses and field work already in play. “You can’t picture it as a standard classroom program. It’s a life-on-life mentoring program; they have assignments and we are working with them on their understanding of different topics and they’re participating fully in Christ Memorial Church,” as well as observing at other churches in the area.