The Boardwalk Chapel is a wonderful opportunity for college students on summer break! Every year some of our staffers come from college to the Chapel and join our family for the summer. Curious if you should pursue this opportunity? First of all, pray. It’s an investment—an investment of your time and resources. Everyone’s situation is unique, so there may not be a clear right or wrong answer.
“[Mission trips are] so good spiritually for developing your own faith and your own stance and boldness. The Boardwalk Chapel is especially nice because it’s a great training ground,” said Rachel, a college student who has served three years on staff, twice as a volunteer and this past summer as drama coordinator. “It teaches you all you need to know in evangelism and apologetics from the best of the best, and then we’re able to enact it out on the boardwalk. The relationships you form here are life-long, and whether you come for a week, a whole summer, or multiple summers, you will never regret it and you’ll always want to come back—even if you can’t.”
The Chapel provides lots of practical, hands-on training in evangelism and apologetics out on the boardwalk. It also gives lots of opportunities for a young adult to explore different gifts. Every night, the Chapel puts on programs involving skits, songs, and Gospel teaching moments.
Young men have the chance to teach the Word during the program and get a taste of preaching. They can acquire experience in teaching or evangelism before heading off to seminary. Pastor Jim has told about men who thought they were interested in the ministry before coming to the Chapel who then realized their gifts didn’t lie there—and the opposite happens too. Men who didn’t realize they had gifts in those areas discovered that God had gifted them and called them to the ministry. If you’re a young man thinking of seminary, consider coming to the Chapel first. You might discover the ministry is not for you—or you might discover that it is. But either way, you’ll get to serve God and deepen your understanding of the Gospel.
“Especially since I’m going off to seminary. I thought this would be a good ministry, and I’d get hands-on experience sharing the Gospel with people and evangelizing,” said Ben Phelps, who applied for an evangelism internship. “I have evangelized to friends and coworkers before, but I had never done street evangelism, and I think that’s one of the blessings of the Chapel. No matter how long you’re here, it will make you more comfortable and prepare you better for evangelism.”
Do your interests lie in music or drama? At the Chapel you’ll have a chance to develop those gifts. All are welcome to participate in those areas. What’s more, every night hundreds of people are walking by on the boardwalk. You may be put outside your comfort zone, but the Boardwalk Chapel is a fun environment to learn and grow. You’ll be challenged to use your talents for God’s glory in Gospel-centered music and Gospel-centered skits. The message must always be the Gospel, the end must always be God’s glory. “I love the programs,” said Hannah, who came with a youth group. “Singing and worship is something God has really laid on my heart. I really love worship. Being able to get up onstage and sing to people who are just walking by, who don’t even know you—being able to share the truth through using your voice is awesome and something that I look forward to.”
You’ll get to use your gifts. You’ll learn how to evangelize. You’ll be put outside your comfort zone.
“It is a great ministry that will equip you to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the boardwalk, and help you do the Great Commission,” said Andrew, who is serving on our evangelism team before heading back to college this fall. “I believe that the Boardwalk Chapel has done an excellent job of that. As Christians, we are called to give the Gospel and to do the Great Commission. Some people cannot give their entire summer away, but I would encourage anyone to have this experience.”
“It’s a great experience in getting to know other Christians,” said Jim Zozzaro, the director of the Chapel. “Even if you’re never going to go into being an evangelist or an apologist or things like that. If you start fundraising early, it’s not that much money to put away. If you don’t make up your mind until the middle of winter, then it seems daunting. You have three months to raise a few thousand dollars, and that’s difficult. So I tell people: try to think a year out.”
It’s possible to serve at the Chapel and still work a regular job, especially if you serve on our evangelism team. Once our training weeks at the beginning of the summer are finished, you can work all day and come to the Chapel in the evenings for our programs and evangelize until midnight. Or you could work in the mornings only and still be present for afternoon practice at the Chapel.
“The company I’m working for right now, A&LP, is owned by members of Pastor Zozzaro’s church,” said Nathan Batten, who serves on the Chapel’s AVL team while also maintaining a job during the summer. “He coordinated a lot of that, put them in contact with me, and they’ve been really understanding about times I need to work. Right now, because I’m the only guy on AVL, I have to be here by 11:45 every day. They were fine with that. They’ve been really understanding working around my schedule, and they’ve been pretty good to work for.”
The Chapel also offers a limited number of paid, scholarshipped, or partially-scholarshipped internships. If you are experienced or have an advanced education in an applicable area, it doesn’t hurt to inquire about what is available. Our leaders help the ministry run smoothly and use their gifts to guide others.
The Boardwalk Chapel is an experience you won’t get anywhere else. It is difficult at times, it is humbling, it’s uplifting. We get to see God at work in Wildwood. So pray about it! Pray and consider coming to the Chapel on summer break. It would be a joy to have you join us.