thinking about full-time ministry?


Not sure what that looks like?


We are here to help.

The ELI Project is an initiative of the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church to identify, encourage, and support young adults who are exploring a call to vocational ministry. The program is designed to provide young adults with a practical and experiential discernment process in summer 2019. Through this process, young adults will sense more fully God's call upon their lives as they explore who God is calling them to be and which ministries God is calling them to serve as faithful and fruitful leaders. 

Just as Samuel heard and responded to God's call in 1 Samuel 3, young men and women are hearing God's call to leadership in ministry.  The ELI Project team, along with host congregations and pastors, invite you to explore the call to vocational ministry through a hands-on internship encompassing all facets of ministry.

Throughout  the summer, interns will have the opportunity to:

  • Preach and/or lead a Bible study

  • Plan worship

  • Be involved in a social justice or community outreach ministry

  • Observe leadership development/discipleship ministry

  • Provide pastoral care


ELi Project Details

The ELI Project internship is for young adults who have completed at least their first year of college or university. While the project is funded and organized through The United Methodist Church, students need not have a United Methodist background to be considered for the internship. The ELI Project team will select up to 12 young adults to participate as a learning cohort for the summer of 2019. Placement will involve The ELI Project team matching a host United Methodist Church and intern based on the intern’s learning goals and the strengths of the congregation and supervising clergy. The 2019 internships begin with a group orientation from May 28 - 31, followed by a 10-week on-site internship (June 2 - Aug. 4), and then a wrap-up retreat Aug. 6 - 7 that includes group reflection, evaluation, and celebration. Interns will be full-time employees of the ministry site and will be paid $3,000. All ministry sites will be located in Minnesota, and students will be expected to relocate if coming from out of state. Certain sites may provide housing for interns; that will be assessed on an individual basis.  

ELI Project participants have been selected for the summer of 2019. Check back in early 2020 for the summer 2020 application.

ELI 2.0 Details

ELI 2.0 is an expansion of the conference’s college internship program that is specifically designed for returning ELI interns to explore ministry in a new way. Whereas regular ELI interns spend two months taking a deep dive within a single host congregation and gain experience planning worship, preaching or leading a Bible study, and providing pastoral care, ELI 2.0 interns will gain a wider perspective of ministry and take on an enhanced leadership role.

The role of an ELI 2.0 includes leading weekly reflection time and helping to plan both the orientation and wrap-up retreat. Additionally, they will attend worship at six to eight different churches, participate in a social justice or community engagement project of their choosing (such as the conference’s Hopeful Earthkeepers), and have regular contact with both a clergy mentor and Jody Thone, the conference’s director of leadership development and ELI Project coordinator.

2019 ELI 2.0 participants will be paid $3,500 for the 10-week summer internship. ELI 2.0 Project participants have been selected for the summer of 2019. Check back in early 2020 for the summer 2020 application. Learn more about the 2019 ELI 2.0 interns.


applications now closed until early 2020

A third time the Lord called Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “I’m here. You called me?” Then Eli realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So Eli said to Samuel, “Go and lie down. If he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down where he’d been. Then the Lord came and stood there, calling just as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel said, “Speak. Your servant is listening.”