Student Ministries @ New Church Development | Mitch Kolls, MDiv, senior

Mitch Kolls has been working at Dripping Springs Presbyterian Church, a PC(USA) New Church Development (NCD), for the past three years. When he was hired as director of student ministries in 2009, the church had just moved into its first rental space which they shared with a local body shop. Not your typical meeting place for worship, but it suited the church well.

Dripping Springs PC was planted with the help of several congregations in the Austin area, who gave of their time, money, and prayers to help the church grow. Of this he says, "There is no way to put a number or value on how much the support of those churches impacted our success, but I don’t think we, or any NCD, could have done it alone."

As the church has grown, so has Mitch’s role on staff. Continuing as the director of student ministries, he also serves as contemporary worship leader. With multiple services for youth and adults, the church’s Youth and Children’s Ministry always keeps the congregation thinking toward the future.

How has your theological education informed your work and ministry at the church? 

More than anything, I have found that when I am learning more about my faith, I am a better pastor. When I am pushed to understand things at a deeper level, it keeps me excited about who God is and what God is doing in my life and the lives around me. That excitement is contagious and pours over into my ministry.

How has your ministry at the church shaped your vocational call? 

Nothing can prepare you for service in the church like actually working there. Not for a summer or semester, but journeying with a congregation for the length of my education has totally changed and shaped how I think about ministry and my call.

NCDs are coming to the forefront as the PC(USA) changes. How has working in this context informed the way that you think about parish ministry?

It has given me a vision for the future of my denomination. New church development is hard work, but it is so worth it! We should be planting new churches instead of trying to resurrect dying ones. Our denomination and mission grows when we plant churches. That has been my experience. I hope it’s a vision that others in our denomination begin to see and experience, because if you have never been a part of a NCD, it’s hard to explain how exciting and life changing it can be. You will never encounter hope in a more tangible way than when you get to be a part of what God is doing in a new church.