By Brittani Lamb

As my time at ELCA World Hunger comes to a close, I’ve been thinking a lot about what this experience has meant to me. I decided to do this internship not only because it complements my social work education well, but also because I wanted to strengthen my connection to the church. As a life-long Lutheran, I’ve never been too far from the church. I was an active participant in my home congregation and synod growing up. I attended the National Youth Gathering in New Orleans and went as a voting delegate to the Churchwide Assembly in 2009. I chose St. Olaf in part because it is a Lutheran college. I also worked at a Lutheran camp for two summers. I strongly believe my life has only been enriched by these experiences, but I still felt there was a piece missing in my spiritual life.

I’m sure many of you have read the recent CNN article that has gone viral on Facebook and other sites titled “Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church.” While I am not one of the millennials who is leaving, I do see many connections in this article to my own feelings towards the church and the things I see among my peers. One thing that stood out to me the most was this: “We’re not leaving the church because we don’t find the cool factor there; we’re leaving the church because we don’t find Jesus there.” While I don’t agree with this statement, I definitely know of people who do. I have been blessed with rich opportunities such as this internship and others that have given me a chance to truly see Jesus in the church, but I can see how others don’t. There are places in the church where we don’t always act in a way Jesus would have.

One thing my generation (and others who are leaving the church) really wants to see is the justice that Jesus lived out. This is the piece that I felt was missing from my spirituality. Now, I have made that connection through ELCA World Hunger. This summer I have seen and become involved in what the church is doing to work for justice in the United States and across the world. I have also seen how things that don’t seem directly connected to justice (like fundraising or sitting in a cubicle responding to emails all day) are integral to justice work and equally important. Something I really appreciate about the church that I have seen here this summer is that everyone has the attitude that they are working for and with the church and are a part of God’s work. It is truly inspiring to see people living out their vocation every day.

I would like to say thank you to everyone who has supported me this summer and all those who support ELCA World Hunger. Working here has truly been a blessing and I can’t wait to see where this experience leads me next!

This is Brittani  Lamb’s final post as an intern for ELCA World Hunger.