At age 16, Seger Bayer figured mother knows best when it came to taking part in children’s ministry training. Bayer, 20, now a student at Emory University, recalls that his mom encouraged her to become a NXTGEN summer intern.
“My mom told me spending a summer with great people like pastor Tim and Marcia, doing something I loved — even if it’s not my goal in life — would be a great use of my summer,” Bayer remembers.
Assemblies of God appointed U.S. missionaries Tim A. Jones and his wife, Marcia, work in children’s ministry. The Chelsea, Alabama-based couple, who have been married almost 36 years, equip young men and women called to children’s ministry by offering them practical training.
The couple started NXTGEN, which features the tagline “Train In, Train Out, Train Up.” The motto underscores the need to train leaders inside the Church, train the Church to go outside into the elementary schools, and train up godly young men and women.
“Having now spent two full summers on the NXTGEN internship and helping pastor Tim and Marcia several other times, I can confirm that my mom was right,” Bayer says. “Over the two summers, I realized that children’s ministry is my goal in life, and I did that by receiving a ton of hands-on experience with guidance from two excellent ministers.”
Tim, 56, and Marcia, 54, started in kids ministry as teenagers and served for 22 years as children’s pastors at New Life Church in Westover, Alabama.
”Our heart is to raise up the next generation of leaders to do children’s ministry and to believe God can do the impossible,” Marcia says. In three years of the NXTGEN internship, more than 20 young men and women have been trained.
“We love watching God move on these students’ lives and see God growing them in what He has called them to do,” Tim says. Four of the former interns now are serving as full- or part-time kids’ pastors, while several are still in college or high school and helping to lead the children’s ministry at a local church.
The interns receive leadership training and discipleship. High school and college students travel the summer as NXTGEN interns, doing camps and revivals at churches, for up to 80 services. The Joneses teach the mentees how to develop a character to incorporate during services in which they teach a story or do an object lesson.
“They also learn how to develop services that flow where a child can stay engaged in the service,” Tim says. “Interns learn how to speak in front of 400 children and to bring the same energy as they would with 10 children.”
Daniel Wiggins, 32, a children’s leader at Church of the Highlands which has multiple locations throughout central Alabama, says the Joneses children’s ministry training proved to be transformational.
“Pastor Tim and Marcia have been spiritual mentors and a life-support system, believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself and praying for me when I wanted nothing to do with church,” Wiggins says. “I could never fully communicate or explain the impact they have had on my life.”
PHOTO: Among the interns Marcia Jones (left) and Tim Jones (right) have trained are Ean Roberts and Jameson McLoud.