With the start of the winter 2021 semester, Cultivate launched their winter course titled: running a ministry 101. The course was designed to equip ministry leaders with the skills needed to start or revamp their ministries. Vinny Conforti, A junior at Oakland University, attended the class with the hope of helping his church start a young adult ministry. Vinny’s dream started in the summer of 2020 when he started hosting small groups for his church at his house every Friday night. The group started small with a few of his friends showing up, but it quickly gained traction. Soon new faces arrived, and a tight-knit community developed. As the summer ended and students went back to their colleges, Vinny caught a glimpse of what a ministry at his church could look like and was eager to make his dream a reality.
Throughout the ten weeks in the course, Vinny learned how to run his college ministry effectively. Vinny learned about the four aspects of every ministry: community, teaching, outreach, and development. Some of the topics covered taught Vinny how to craft a mission statement, recruit leaders, and build healthy leadership teams.
Vinny’s newfound passion for ministry created a spark in his heart to dive deeper into his faith. Vinny started meeting with Cameron Underdown and Kyle Vens for spiritual development. Vinny and Kyle have been meeting together weekly for over a year. Since Vinny and I (Kyle Vens) started meeting together, I have had the joy of seeing Vinny grow not only as a leader but as a man of God. Vinny’s leadership skills have significantly improved. He has a clear direction for his ministry and is learning to utilize his gifts. On top of his growth as a leader, Vinny is growing in his emotional and spiritual maturity. Since we started meeting, Vinny has developed a more intimate relationship with God, grown in wisdom, and learned to express his feelings. I could not be prouder of the man Vinny is becoming.
I believe that Vinny exemplifies what it means to be a servant leader. He is personable, kind, humble, and self-sacrificing. He is always willing to step into any role that is needed. In the last three months, Vinny has stepped into leadership positions at his church in the kid’s program, the middle school, and high school youth programs and is one of the driving forces behind the college ministry at his church. Vinny’s willingness to give of himself reminds me of the humility Paul calls us to in Philippians 2:3-4.
Through Vinny’s hard work, his pastor’s guidance, and the leadership team he surrounded himself with, Vinny is seeing the fruit of his labor. Their college ministry is growing, and he is meeting new faces every week. Vinny is optimistic about their ministry and believes that he can create a consistent and community-oriented ministry at his church.
As the summer approaches and college students come back home, Vinny is excited for his church to relaunch summer small groups. Vinny has big plans for his summer small group is confident with a little bit of direction and a lot of God; their college ministry will grow this summer.
Below is a quote from Vinny about his time in Cultivate:
“Cameron Underdown and Kyle Vens are a significant influence in my life. I started attending Cultivate at a perfect time because I had just withdrawn from all of my college courses, and their class was on discovering your vocation. I had a lot of questions about what I wanted to do in the future and through the help of the class, Cam, and Kyle, I was able to come to an answer. Now I meet with Kyle weekly. Kyle has become my accountability partner, my wise counsel, and a really good friend. He helps me with my questions about ministry and growing the young adults that I attend and serve. Kyle helps me interpret scripture and has majorly impacted how I approach the Bible and how I read it. He helps me in my relationships and how to handle certain friends. Overall, I am so thankful for the impact Kyle has on my life and in my walk with Christ.