MINDSETS FOR AN IMPACTFUL INTERNSHIP
A successful internship requires intentionality from two different people–the pastor and the intern. While there are probably stories out there of pastors failing to give their intern adequate opportunities to prepare themselves for the pastorate, it is my observation that there are many interns that think that completing their term and fulfilling their basic duties automatically prepares them for the pastorate. That is far from reality.
If an internship is going to be worthwhile, it requires a willingness from a pastor to let the intern practice ministry and a willingness from the intern to make the most of the internship.
Allow me to share three mindsets that I’ve learned from previous interns at FBC, which have helped make my current internship even more valuable.
I’M HERE TO MAKE A LONG-TERM IMPACT IN A SHORT-TERM WINDOW
Too often, interns become so focused on the destination of completing their internship that they pour less energy into the journey. A wise intern will emotionally invest themselves in the church as if they planned to be there for 10 years! An intern who plans to make a long-term impact will do more than the pastor asks: they take initiative to see gaps in the ministry and fill them for their pastor.
I’M HERE TO REACH AND DISCIPLE PEOPLE FOR JESUS
I’ll never forget what Pastor Prater told me before I came on staff, “By the time you leave here, I need to be able to look out on our church and see multiple people that you’ve reached and discipled during your time here. If you can’t reach people as a staff member at a well-established work, then you probably won’t reach many people as a church planter.” This is huge! An intern must see themselves as more than a guy who does media, a youth pastor, a janitor, or a Sunday School teacher: they have to make every effort to win people to Jesus and disciple them during their internship. It’s simply unwise for a man to start a church if he hasn’t first proven himself to be passionate about winning and developing followers of Jesus.
I’M HERE TO BUILD LIFELONG FRIENDSHIPS WITH THE PEOPLE OF GOD
While every intern must be focused on reaching people outside the doors of the church, it is also important that they build lifelong friendships with those inside the doors of the church. The sending church relationship that Fellowship has with its church planters could not happen if there wasn’t a deep bond between church members and church planter developed during the intern phase. One cannot enjoy the harvest of an invested sending church without first planting the seeds of relationship-building. This means you have to establish a routine of inviting church people over to your home, having meaningful conversations with members in every age group, and going out of your way to show the love of Christ to others in the body.
The title of the intern is one that may describe your end goals as a staff member, but don’t allow the title to describe your impact as a staff member. Dig in, reach people, and love the church members just as any tenured staff member would. You’ll find embracing the journey will prepare you for church planting far more than obsessing over the destination.