Friday, May 20, 2016

By Dr. Joshua Chatraw

When we think about summer internships, I think it is helpful to start off by thinking about ministry in general. Whenever we step into any ministry position or job, we need to be thinking, “What will the Lord accomplish through this?” And our job is simply to be faithful to the Gospel, faithful to His word, and faithful in doing what we are asked to do by our employers. Then we trust God with the results. This is the same for Pastors, evangelists, and summer interns.

For summer interns specifically, it is important to think through what faithfulness looks like in your position. How do you faithfully serve God and your employers in this position?

One of the challenges of an internship is simply how short it is. We all have the tendency to overestimate what we can accomplish. Typically, pastors going into a new church will overestimate what they can accomplish in the first two or three years of being there. This is one of the major reasons for many tensions that arise in a church with a new pastor. So then, when an intern is looking at spending just three months with a church, they need to think very strategically how they will spend that time. They need to trust the staff that is already present, and approach their internship with the attitude of a servant. The attitude of the intern needs to be reflecting the question, “How can I serve this local body and the leaders that God has placed here?”

One of the greatest dangers for a young intern is pride. If an intern walks into a church and attempts to correct or instruct the staff that is already there, the intern is likely just going to cause problems. Internships are specifically designed for the intern to learn, observe, and serve the leadership of the church.

Part of serving the leadership at the local church is lifting them up in the eyes of their congregation. Support what they are already trying to accomplish in the church. Do not try to do anything radically different. You will only be there for three months, and making radical changes in that amount of time isn’t going to help support the local leadership’s vision and mission. So encourage the leadership, lift them up, learn from them, and pray.