When Niko Hays interned with OneWay, he discovered that he could use his love of filmmaking and his skills as a leader to serve the Lord. Spending two summers as a video production intern, Hays grew both spiritually and professionally, sparking a lifestyle of ministry he continues in today.
Though he had never led a team before, Hays was asked to direct several OneWay videos, including promotional and music videos. God used these projects to reveal his natural gifting toward leadership — a gift he uses today as a freelance filmmaker.
“I was put in over my head a little bit, but in a good way,” he explains. “OneWay isn’t afraid to give responsibility to interns, like ‘here is your role, own it.’ That was something that really encouraged me.”
During his second internship, Hays worked with Prayercast to create a guided prayer video for all 77 neighborhoods in Chicago.
“That might be something that sparked my enjoyment specifically for shooting videos,” he says.
It also helped to kindle his excitement for how God is working in individual lives. “We all have stories … It's cool to get to draw that out of people.”
Hays spent about two years on staff with OneWay Studios after graduating and more recently helped to develop social media videos for the One80 podcast launch. As a freelancer, he specializes in documentaries and music videos, currently focusing on what God is doing around the Chicago area, specifically among worship leaders.
Like OneWay, Hays is also working to develop biblical community among young adults in the Church.
“What I am perceiving in the American church is there is this generation that’s really excited about the Lord and really wanting to have authentic faith,” he explains. “[Young people] don’t want to just go to church but be the church. Investing into young adults is really investing into the future of the American church.”
Learn how you can help activate more young adults for ministry at owm.org/activate.