The time left on the clock finally ran out. The buzzer shrilled as the sound of victory rang throughout the entire gymnasium. The crowd cheered and proud parents celebrated as the Archangels won the championship game. Ross Kilgore could not believe he had just led his basketball team to a win.
“I never expected to be a basketball coach,” said Kilgore as he smiled at the memory. “I wouldn’t exactly say I’m coaching material.”
During his time at Huntington, Kilgore knew he would eventually have to choose a location for his PRIME spot. Any student majoring in ministry or missions leaves for PRIME during May or early June after his or her junior year and spends seven months in a ministry field setting. Kilgore knew he wanted to work with low-income students and children in need. He finally heard about a ministry called Seeds of Hope in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Kilgore, a 2011 graduate in youth ministries and family and children's ministry, helped the Seeds of Hope ministry by serving as a summer day camp counselor while also spending time with some of the local youth who would come to the house. These youth could play games, socialize with other children their age, and spend time getting to know the youth ministry interns and the Seeds of Hope staff. Besides serving as a counselor, Kilgore also led worship.
A fellow intern and Kilgore also volunteered to coach a group of middle school boys in basketball. Before practices, Kilgore planned and led Bible studies for the team to foster their spiritual growth. With the help of his assistant coach, Kilgore even helped lead the Archangels to a championship victory.
When he first arrived in Pittsburgh, Kilgore felt nervous about if he would ever be able to build meaningful friendships with his students, but through working with the middle school students at the day camp and the students on his basketball team, Kilgore felt God reaffirmed his call to youth ministry and to focus primarily on middle school students.
“I had to be loud and energetic for the afterschool program,” Kilgore said. “That’s not me at all. I was worried about not being outgoing enough to fit in. Then during our first staff meeting, we read the part in the Gospel where Jesus feeds the 5,000. During the reading, I heard God speak to me through the passage. He was asking his disciples to do something impossible. I learned that even if you don’t feel like you are capable of doing something, offer what you have to God and watch what he can do with it.”
Kilgore says his PRIME experience prepared him well for his current position as the associate pastor of Student Ministries and Worship at Hope Missionary Church in Bluffton, Ind.