A Strong Foundation
by Micaiah Bolton

To have a sturdy house, you have to build on top of a foundation. That is what I came to Dawson with: a strong foundation.

When I was a junior in high school, God called me to ministry, specifically music ministry, which led me to Samford to pursue a degree in worship leadership. Once I got to Samford, I realized that I needed to find a church that would not only pour into me but allow me the opportunity to serve God’s people. During my first semester of college, Dawson became that place. It became not only a place, but a community of people with whom I could share grief and joy, that helped me heal from past hurts, and that modeled what it means to be filled with the Spirit.

Once I’d decided that I wanted to call Dawson home away from home, Blake Jenkins and Kara Fincher, our College leaders, began to nudge me toward the BETA internship program. I’d expressed to them a desire to serve as well as a need for financial support for school. At that point, BETA had only been around for a couple of years, but it seemed like an answered prayer. I would gain experience in my field, a strong spiritual community, and a scholarship. So, as a rising sophomore, I decided to apply to the program with nothing but my growing relationship with Jesus and an eagerness to serve. As He always does, the Lord provided abundantly more than I would ever have thought to ask for, and I became a BETA Intern in the Music & Worship Ministry.

The first thing I did as a BETA intern at the kickoff retreat was learn what it actually means to be a BETA intern. The word “Beta” is actually a mountain climbing term that refers to the “step-by-step description of a sequence of a climb.” I have learned that this is a well-chosen descriptor of what it is to be a part of this program at Dawson.

With tutelage from our Music & Worship Ministry leadership, John Woods and Dan Mullis, I have been greatly challenged over the past three years in my work, but I have also been equipped to face these challenges. From the simple task of burning hundreds of demo CDs for Candlelight to conducting one of the many worship ensembles,
I have been well-instructed and thoroughly supported.

One of the greatest joys of my intern experience has been taking up the responsibility of musical leadership on Sunday mornings. Whether conducting the choir, playing my French horn, leading as a front line vocalist, or herding kids on DMA Celebration Sunday, I have continually been empowered to lead well and to worship well.

While my musicianship and leadership skills have certainly grown through this internship, that growth doesn’t compare to how I’ve grown as a follower of Christ and future minister of the Gospel. The Lord has truly revealed Himself and guided me through this season. I’ve learned how hard ministry can be, and about the sacrifices that come with it. Having experienced authentic joy and deep sorrow while working here, I’m learning how to serve consistently and serve well through all seasons of life. And, I’ve learned how God uses the church as a comfort to those who are going through turbulent times.

Throughout this experience, I have been given wonderful opportunities to cultivate my skills and knowledge of music, ministry, the character of God, and myself. I am incredibly thankful that I was chosen for the internship position. Being a BETA intern is something that I would recommend to any college student who God has called to ministry.

This BETA internship has given me the tools that I need to be a true servant of God. While being a minister and building a house are two very different things, the need for a firm foundation remains the same. My spiritual foundation has been built upon during my time at Dawson, and I’ve become better equipped to continue building upon that foundation for whatever lies ahead.

Micaiah Bolton is a senior at Samford University with a Bachelor of Arts in Worship Leadership. From Savannah, Georgia, she plans to stay in Birmingham and complete seminary and seek a ministerial position. Her grandmother always encouraged her to use her gifts for God, and she is so thankful that God provides her with opportunities. She is Dawson's first and only three-year BETA Intern.