This week, we head to Project Transformation Central Texas to explore the importance of our core value of discernment of purpose.

A Project Transformation, we believe everyone has unique gifts, passions, and talents endowed by God that can be used for a greater purpose of ministry and service in the world. We foster an intentional environment of practice and self-reflection. We encourage and empower self-discovery and the cultivation of gifts, passions, and talents as young people discern their vocation.

This core value is evident at Project Transformation Central Texas (PTCT), where National Leadership Fellow, Cassie Samuelson, has spent the last year on Central Texas staff leading key organizational initiatives and learning more about the inner workings of non-profits. Cassie is a summer intern and leadership team alumni of PT North Texas and PT Central Texas. This year, she is one of four Fellows planted in local chapters across the country  discerning their vocation, earning a nonprofit leadership certificate, and developing as leaders.

The National Leadership Fellows (NLF) program began in the fall of 2018 with support from the General Board of Higher Education & Ministry’s  Young Clergy Initiative  and several generous donors. The goal of the NLF program is to  create a pipeline and cultivate future ministry leaders at Project Transformation and beyond.

As an NLF, Cassie Samuelson led Central Texas’ first fundraising luncheon, launched new marketing and volunteer initatives, as well as trained and coached young adults in delivering high quality literacy and social emotional programming. She has completed a non-profit certification from the Center for Non-Profit Management. All of these achievements have helped her discern her purpose and next steps in ministry. Cassie states,” Through my experiences here, as well as being supported in my own life discernment, I will be returning to school in the fall for a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.” She hopes to use her gifts in music and counseling to eventually start a non-profit that provides healing through music therapy.

Reflecting on her NLF experience, Cassie writes:

“I couldn’t possibly express the entirety of growth, change, and discernment that I’ve experienced as a National Leadership Fellow for Project Transformation. As for what I’ve learned about myself, I think one thing truly stands out. First, before being an NLF, I had never thought of myself as a particularly brave person. While I had the passion, drive, and vision of someone who is comfortable in a collaborative leadeship position, when it came to stepping out and fronting action on my own, I was always unsure. Per the PT way, yet another one of my bubbles was popped, and my abilities to stand on my own, be innovative, and lead the charge in situations that were not always ideal were truly tested, and nearly perfected. Bravery in this program is vital, as the odds tend to always be against us, our churches, our interns, our children, and our communities. But by being asked to memorize our mission statement in our first training session at PT National, and living by those words since that day, I’ve found this program’s bravery in myself. As I leave PT, I will take with me the sheer faithfulness that I’ve learned with PT. This faith is found in myself, in our mission, in my community, and my God. And, I will take with me a true sense of community that I know I can always depend on. ”

Cassie’s NLF story and experience reminds us why we are so grateful to work alongside young adults as they discern their God-given purpose and choose to lead lives of courage and calling. The mission of PT could not happen without young leaders like Cassie and we are so blessed by their commitment to our mission and the children we serve.