Pastors attending Ministry Recruitment Day at Maranatha often place a bowl of candy at their displays to help attract potential student workers for their churches. Veteran pastors know that homemade chocolate chip cookies work even better.
Ben Lavicka needed nursery workers at his church. So, of course, he brought a baby: 5-month-old Jayden Andrew Lavicka.
“You know, it has been pretty busy,” Lavicka said with a chuckle when asked if his son had proven to be an effective recruiting tool.
The Ministry Services office’s annual event included 43 pastors from 34 churches. Pastors set up displays in the gymnasium, then meet with students looking for a church at which to serve.
Some pastors were looking to fill specific areas of need. Others were looking for, well, almost everything. Lavicka fell into the latter category, having taken over Whitewater Bible Church on June 19, shortly after his graduation from Maranatha Baptist Seminary. He and wife Alison (Delveau, ’11) have been working tirelessly to grow the 50-member congregation.
“We need teachers. We need workers for our college outreach at UW-Whitewater. We want to start a bus ministry. We have an opportunity to start a Child Evangelism Fellowship ministry in the public school,” Lavicka said. “I am committed to this church, and I have a lot of vision for it. I just need feet for that vision.”
Adam Jones had a vision for his ministry while in college. The freshman from Kiowa, CO, was looking for a church where he could work with high school students.
“I’m a Youth Ministries major, and I’d like to be a youth pastor someday,” Jones explained. “I’m looking for a church where I can learn and serve, but also one that has a good support system.”
Pastor Stephen Hollenbeck said East Delavan Baptist Church has been offering a support system for as many as 13 Maranatha students each semester for the last 13 years.
“They spend the whole day Sunday at our church, but we feed them and try to let them know how much we appreciate them,” Hollenbeck said. We have pastors for our Spanish ministry and deaf ministry right now, but no full-time youth pastor. So, if we can recruit youth program workers, that’s really a plus for our church.”
Mark Weiss (’80) of Stoughton Baptist Church was recruiting workers for typical ministries (junior church, Awana, nursery, music) as well as an atypical drama ministry. Another atypical ministry was at North Point Baptist Church in Libertyville, IL, where pastor Mike Marshall is establishing outreach ministries to thousands of young recruits at nearby Great Lakes Naval Base.
“One of our biggest needs right now is for female students to work with the female sailors,” Marshall said.
Maranatha students ministered in more than 70 local churches during the 2010-11 academic year. Students can work in any of 121 partnering churches within a day’s drive of campus, 43 of them within 50 miles of Maranatha.