Most college graduates leave school with one pressing goal: find a job. But that stressor was one Josemiguel Marin, a 2021 graduate, didn’t face. He was hired in January of his senior year by the Kansas-Nebraska Conference and had his church assignments by March. Now an associate pastor at the Golden Hills (Omaha) and Fremont Seventh-day Adventist churches, Marin credits his smooth transition to pastoral life to the support and preparation he received while at Union College.

“Union does a great job at preparing students for the future, especially those of us who are going to be pastors,” said Marin. He cites the many ministry and leadership opportunities, from traveling with worship teams and working in Campus Ministries to serving as a student chaplain and mentor. 

Also instrumental was the semester-long senior-year internship all theology students complete. Marin stayed in Lincoln and interned at College View Church, working alongside and learning from the pastors there. “I got to experience almost every area in ministry, and I learned from each of the pastors because they all do different jobs and have their own ways,” he said. This gave him insight into youth pastoring, discipleship, church organization, administrative and financial tasks, and more. “It was such a great experience. They prepared me well and gave me a sense of what I’m doing and why I’m here.”

He says that professors also instilled in him and his classmates a sense of both the practical and theoretical, sharing what they’ve experienced in ministry and helping students gain hands-on experience.

Combining theory and practice

“They send us out expecting us to grow,” Marin said. “They know that when we are uncomfortable and challenged is when we learn the most.” But, he said, he was never alone. “The teachers really think about where to send us because they want us to be with pastors who will mentor us.” 

Now that he’s started his career, Marin is finding that his classroom, leadership, and internship experiences are all coming together to help him excel at every part of the job. “The job changes every week,” he said. “That’s the good and the hard parts of ministry. But our teachers helped us learn time management, and my internship was a great way to experience all of the parts of church leadership and get a little taste of everything I’d be doing in my job.”

Marin is grateful for the complete education he got at Union—one that prepared him to step into his career with confidence. “Union gives you connections,” he said. “Connections are the biggest determining factor in where you get hired and how early. Our teachers helped us meet people, sent us on ministry trips, empowered us and built up our confidence, and gave us internships where we could make those connections so we are ready to serve.”