Students visited the Parthenon during their trip.

Milligan’s Ministry Leadership Program, launched this semester, connects practical ministry experience to the college’s strong academic and theological curriculum. Each semester, ministry students will travel to a different church across the United States to learn from prominent leaders and experience diverse contexts for ministry.

This month, students traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, to learn from ministry leaders at Lakeshore Christian Church, a growing and ethnically diverse congregation.

Students learned about the church’s mission and history, visited its two campuses and participated in breakout sessions with leaders in specific ministries. On Sunday morning, they volunteered and shadowed during the worship service.

Students also met with Milligan alums, Brandon and Sara Jacobs, to hear about their experience preparing to plant a new church in East Nashville with Stadia, a world church planting organization.

“At Milligan, we learn a lot about ministry practices but being in a classroom can have its limits,” said Reese Brackins, a junior interested in youth ministry. “Our trip gave us the opportunity to go to a new church and shadow vocational ministers, to see how they work and to learn by walking with them.”

Milligan students pray with alums, Brandon and Sara Jacobs, as they prepare to plant a church in East Nashville.

Dr. Ron Kastens, director of the Ministry Leadership Program, emphasized the importance of students observing as many different congregations as possible during their time at Milligan.

“We want to expose students to ministry taking place in diverse contexts,” said Kastens. “This exposure teaches our students that the church can, and should, look different in different settings.”

Mallory Fehl, a freshman, felt the weekend helped her envision what ministry can include.

“You grow up in a specific church and you know how your church has always worshiped,” she explained. “To see this process for another church was helpful. It also allowed me to think about some of the things that I would want to use when I work in a church.”

While the weekend focused on practical ministry experience, Brackins and Fehl emphasized that the weekend also built greater comradery among the students.

“As a freshman, this trip allowed me to get to know everyone in the program,” said Fehl. “From traveling together in a van to visiting the Parthenon, it was a fun experience.”

To learn more about Milligan’s Ministry Leadership Program, visit