Meet A.J. Dallas
Truth be told, TAC College Pastoral Intern Aaron Dallas, Jr. (A. J.) started actively serving in church ministries at the young age of seven. He now finds himself serving as an intern at Foundry UMC in Cypress and enjoys reflecting on his journey to this point.
With parents who both balanced dual careers including pastoral roles, he recognizes his childhood was sculpted and molded in faith. Additionally, a variety of roles built his leadership skills along the way. A.J. knows that faith permeated his athletic and academic life in high school where he served his varsity teammates as prayer captain. “As I grew older I began to serve in children's ministry, as an usher and greeter,” A.J. shares. “I always sensed that my vocation was to preach but it took time to gain clarity in my daily journey.”
He continued his family’s legacy by attending Texas Southern University, and getting involved in a Christian organization called Intervarsity. There he served as the Evangelism and Discipleship Coordinator and facilitated Bible Studies on campus. Adds A.J., “All of these roles helped clarify my calling. I accepted my call to preach my freshman year with guidance from my Intervarsity leader. Looking back, I see how each of these various steps played a huge role in my becoming a pastoral intern.”
This summer, A.J. is experiencing hands-on ministry opportunities while serving at Foundry UMC under Rev. Ray Hughes. “The best part so far has been preaching my first sermon,” he says. “After the services, two tearful ladies told me how my message spoke directly to them, which left me completely speechless at first. That same day, I learned that a young man accepted his calling to preach.”
He has enjoyed debriefing and reflecting with Pastor Ray, and feels privileged for this unique training. Adds A.J., “Pastor Ray has given me the opportunity to take a front row seat to observe counseling sessions, sermon preparation, and talking to companies that visit the church for business-oriented matters. I have definitely learned that the role of the pastor extends way outside of the pulpit.”
Providing time for intentional discernment and observation, the pastoral internship has reaffirmed A.J.’s commitment to pursue pastoral ministry. “I have seen God at work through me as I share his word, mentor youth at the church, and through a number of our outreach initiatives,” he shares. I definitely want to seek other college students who feel like they have a call to ministry, and share my experience in this program. Hopefully I can get some of my college friends to understand what an awesome opportunity it is to serve a church for 10 weeks as a pastoral intern.”