Via Ecclesia Internship 2023-2024

What is Via Ecclesia?

via (Latin: way) + ecclesia (Greek: church) =
way of church

Via Ecclesia is a leadership development program at First Baptist Church of Asheville that immerses youth in the life of the church with an intense focus on servant leadership and community dynamics. Identified recipients will commit to one year of collaborative learning and intentional service beyond youth programs. The Via Ecclesia program has designed experiences of intergenerational ministry, theological reflections, peer learning and support, and pastoral mentoring and supervision.

Like the Via Karis that binds our community of faith together, Via Ecclesia is a living communal experience, with the holy and ambitious goal of producing fruit far beyond the precise dates of service. In an age when local churches experience certain forms of decline and reduction, this program seeks to propel energy into the younger generation in such a way that they should aspire to serve a local church across their lifetime.

The Via Ecclesia program begins in August 2023 and concludes in May 2024.  Applications will be accepted from any high school students actively engaged with FBCA Youth Ministry.

Up to four (4) youth will be selected for this second program year, with an option for returning students to reapply for 2025. Identified recipients will form a fellowship that will stimulate peer learning and communal theological reflection. Interns will receive a stipend of $1,000 per semester for an expected hourly commitment of five (5) hours per week. A priority will be granted to students in the 2023-2024 junior and senior classes.


As a Via Ecclesia Intern the following commitments apply:


  • Attend opening and closing VE retreats
  • Attend one deacon meeting per semester
  • Attend one auxiliary FBCA event per semester (CFL; AFTA)
  • Attend monthly peer learning group for theological reflection


  • Serve on the FBCA Servant Leadership Team
  • Serve regularly in a role supporting Sunday worship such as greeter, usher, acolyte, choir member, sound technician, etc.


  • Meet monthly with a deacon sponsor
  • Meet monthly with a member of the youth ministerial staff


  • Join an FBCA ministry team or council


  • Read a designated book and provide a written reflection

Meet 2023-24 Via Ecclesia Interns


Graham Emmert

Missions Focus

My hopes are to continue doing mission work. I went to Cruso twice, and both times were fun and useful experiences, working hands-on, meeting people and learning good skills. Another reason is the benefit of helping support myself through college in the AB Tech program that I’m choosing to follow. Via Ecclesia will also help me to stay in touch with people from church after I leave the youth group and help me grow stronger roots and ties with this community.

Jim Worley serves as Graham’s deacon mentor.

Lenore Pratt

Asheville Youth Choir Focus

I want to participate in the Via Ecclesia program because it is an amazing opportunity to learn leadership skills in a community where I know that I am safe and loved. This program could provide a chance for me to learn how professional relationships work in an environment where I know that I am allowed to mess up and to learn through experience. I also want to participate because I care about First Baptist and the community it has created. I have been attending FBCA since I was in preschool. Many people in this church have made a large impact on my life. They have shaped my personality and my perspective on religion and the world. The church has supported and encouraged me through many hardships as I have grown up. First Baptist has given me a great and supportive community, and I want to give back to this community through Via Ecclesia.

Kelly Belcher serves as Lenore’s deacon mentor.

Sophia Stertz

Social Media Focus

I want to serve and be part of Via Ecclesia because it’s a way of giving back to the community that cares deeply for me. Being a part of VE will also help me learn to be a leader in our church and lead in churches I go to in the future. I don’t know precisely how or in what ways I want to serve in churches in the future, but hopefully, doing this may help me figure out a more explicit way to do so. I want to do Via Ecclesia not only because of what I have to offer to our church but what the church has so generously offered me in the past. It’s all about the congregation.

Patricia Glazener serves as Sophia’s deacon mentor.

Via Ecclesia Openings 

Via Applications for 2024 have been filled for the 2023-2024 year.  Applications for next year will be due in August 2024.