I am working on finalizing the overview of our new summer internship program with the student ministry at our church.  I am a strong believer in internships in ministry.  Far too often, many young men and women are thrust out into the position with not a lot of hands-on training.  They may have tons of classroom training, but let's face it... the real experience comes from hands-on.  That's where one learns how to properly use that "classroom training."

I want our student ministry intern program to be something that will benefit both the intern and the student ministry.  Too many times interns are used as "gophers" and not properly trained.  If we can take advantage and do internships right, then maybe we can help sideline many of the problems that young ministers have early in their ministries.

Now, here's where you can help me out.

  • Do you have an internship program with your student ministry?  If so, what does it look like?

  • What are some books or other resources that you would recommend to a person just getting started in student ministry?

  • What are some areas that you think should be covered in a student ministry internship program?


Olon Hyde said...

Our church has an internship program. It is a very important part of our ministry program. We only have one intern. He is a gopher at times, but he serves in a very important function.
He teaches a Sunday School class. He teaches some of our discipleship classes. We also put him in charge of heading up things like fund raisers and other student ministry events.
Some areas that should be covered are how to prepare and teach a lesson. As well as time management, conflict management, what authority they do or do not have, etc.

Ryan Hollingsworth said...

As an individual who has had many internships, including one under you, I always look for an internship that provides some exposure to what I'm looking to do in my career. Personally, I intend on using media and technology as a medium for ministry in addition to evangelism. Thus, I seek out internships and opportunities that enable me to accommodate and experiment with those goals.

To benefit your ministry, I'd suggest writing on paper what you want for your ministry–short and long term, and where you want it to go. Just goal-setting, then consider how an intern can help you achieve those goals. After all, those who write their goals down are much more likely to achieve them.

For the intern to benefit, if you already know the prospect, sit down with him or her and discuss what they are seeking to learn, to experience, and to contribute. If both of your goals are congruent, you have a good potential intern! If not, perhaps you can come to a middle ground that will still help both your ministry and the intern.

For your benefit: I got a lot of valuable experience interning with you in 2004. I got to write a lot of spiritual philosophy and self meditative responses for the youth, which philosophy and writing are two things I've come to love doing and discussing in ministry. I did have a lot of gopher type duties, but didn't mind them due to the ample supply of beneficial experiences. The event planning and leading of social events for the youth was particularly useful during my time as an RA in college, but I think the most valuable element I took was the exposure to running a church the other days of the week, and of course the relationships built with the people there. I would have liked more experience delivering a message or compiling one with the guidance of an experienced pastor, but that is the only critique I really had.

Thanks for all that you do! Let me know how it goes!