Alison “Ali” Bolsinger jumped in with both feet as Covenant’s new Director of Middle School Ministries. Ali graduated from Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., at the end of May and by June 17, she was on her way to Oklahoma City with a group of 26 Covenant middle school students, and high school and adult leaders.

Armed with a degree in Christian ministries with a concentration in pastoral ministries as well as four years of experience working with students through Young Life, Ali was ready for the trip, eager to grow in relationship with our students while learning about Oklahoma City and its homeless population.

“It was incredible to see how the students connected,” Ali said. “They connected with each other, and they also connected to what homelessness looks like. Going into the trip, they may have had a picture of that, but they learned it can look so many ways.”

Though exhausted at the trip’s conclusion, Ali loved the energy of the students and the concentrated time to get to know them and grow in relationship.

“Middle school students can seem disengaged, but they commented that they were motivated to help with the problem of homelessness back in Austin, pointing out similarities between Oklahoma City and Austin,” Ali said. “They really became aware.”

Looking forward to her job, Ali seems perfectly suited to lead middle school students. She said, “I love their energy and I think they are so fun and so crazy. But then middle school students have these moments filled with brilliance, and so to have that balance and to kind of stay on my toes and just get to be in relationship with them, I’m excited. 

“Young Life was huge in teaching me how to work with students, how to reach out to students, how to share the gospel and to be in relationship with them, and also to know that youth ministry is always changing.”

Before her cross-country move, Ali’s only trip to Austin was for her interview, a mere 48 hours or so. She had time for some good BBQ and a walk around Lady Bird Lake, so she has a long list of things to do and see.

“Starting somewhere new is always challenging. Just trying to get the lay of the land. I moved down from Boston and I’ve never lived in Texas, so just even entering into a new culture, a new place,” she said. “I think just starting new will be challenging, but it will be so fun.”

Ali grew up in California in the church, a pastor’s kid. “The church was like my second home. I feel like so much of who I am is because of the church I grew up in as well as why I ended up wanting to be in ministry. I got to see my dad as a pastor, but also, I got to be so involved. I got to lead, and I got to volunteer, and I think there were just moments when I thought, ‘I want to do this.’”

And now, she is in ministry, looking forward to getting better acquainted with Austin and Covenant. “I am really excited for the people and getting to be a part of this community and getting to get to know the students, be part of the staff and just start this chapter,” she said.