Staff Spotlight: Erica
HOMETOWN: Savage, MN
FAMILY: husband, Matt (married 1 year)
HOBBIES: baking, playing games, having coffee with friends (adults and teenagers)!
FAVORITE AUTHOR: Jodi Picoult
GUILTY PLEASURE: Talenti Caramel Cookie Crunch gelato
Tell us about how you came to work at CPC.
I had been feeling a nudge for change for about a year but had no idea what that change would be. I kept an open-handed posture and was just trusting that God would reveal it in His time. Then this position in Student Ministries opened, and I was so excited about it. I connected with Carrie, who also worked at a non-profit before coming to CPC, to see what that transition was like for her. I applied and got the job! It’s been a great opportunity for me to continue to hone skills I had developed at Young Life, like recruiting, training, and caring for our volunteer leaders, and planning weekend and summer camps. I get to step into those things here at CPC, and I love it.
How Do You Hope to Help Students Develop Their Faith?
My goal since I have been in ministry has been to create a safe space for students to learn about who God is, while also giving them the freedom to push back and wrestle with doubts or questions they have about Jesus, what He did for them (and why!), the Bible, and faith. My hope is that every time a student leaves a Wednesday night in Westview, they have a better understanding of how deeply they are loved by God, and as that continues to happen, that they would begin to be transformed from the inside out.
What Have You Learned During This Ministry Year?
Moving TEN12 back to CPC on Wednesday nights has been awesome—having all the grades together in one space laughing, worshiping, and learning together has been huge. We grow and learn when we are in community with different ages, cultures, and differences. Change is always hard, but I sense that people have embraced this change and have seen it as a good thing. In my role at Young Life, we met in homes, so creating a welcoming space in a church building is new for me. I have a huge heart for students who are not involved with any type of church or who have had a bad experience with the church. So I’ve been dreaming about what it would look like for these students to step inside this church building and be greeted and welcomed by the church (followers of Christ), and for them to feel safe, worthy, and seen.
How Can The Congregation Come Alongside Student Ministries?
If you love Jesus and like students, you should totally volunteer! Your age doesn’t matter and research has shown that teenagers don’t need someone who is “cool” but rather someone who will be warm with them. Our volunteer leaders are the backbone of what we do in student ministries. Wednesday night programming couldn’t happen without them. There are also lower commitment opportunities, like volunteering occasionally at our snack shop. It’s a different interaction but still really valuable for our students. Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’re interested in volunteering!
It’s also great when adults make high schoolers feel valued on Sunday mornings. Ask how they are, what they did this weekend, or what’s been bringing them joy lately. They get asked about school, sports, and their futures A LOT, so asking creative questions, listening to them, and making them feel heard and valued goes a long way toward them feeling cared for.
What Do You Need to Lay Down In Order to Take Up Jesus?
I need to lay down reliance on self in order to take up Jesus and the life He continually offers me. If I believe in the “perfect love that casts out all fear,” then I need to continue laying these fears down to pick up that truth that a relationship with Jesus offers me.
Erica serves as Associate Director of High School (10th-12th grade emphasis). She has been on staff since 2018.