About five years ago, we began and Internship Program at VALLEY Christian Church that has produced some incredible results for our church family. As a result, I currently have three staff members that were interns and have another intern waiting in the pipeline. Here are six reasons I love our internship program:
1. Internships allow us to identify potential “homegrown” staff members in the church before hiring them. There is a distinct difference between “homegrown” staff and hiring someone from the outside. Someone who is homegrown has already “bought in” to the mission and passion of the church and ministry. Someone who is hired from the outside is looking for a job first, and this often results in a hireling rather than a heartfelt calling connected to our specific church.
2. Internships allow us to cultivate the gifts, talents and abilities of those who may sense a call of God on their life for ministry, but lack confidence or experience. No matter what it is in life, confidence is key. Internships allow us to “coach up” potential staff and give them confidence in the abilities and talents God has given them. It also creates a “safe” environment where interns can try, fail, succeed and learn.
3. Internships allow us to give an intern a real taste of what ministry is like. It serves to give the intern a realistic picture of the “nuts and bolts” of ministry (which is difficult to see from the outside looking in) before blindly making the leap.
4. Internships allow us to decide as a church staff, “This is not the right time or person for this position” without there being hard feelings. It’s also a trial basis for the intern who can decide, “This is not for me”, as well. The cost is just too high to have a bad hire. I’ve had my share, and it is just too painful for a congregation to go through. Internships help to minimize much of the risk when it comes to hiring.
5. Internships allow us to fully engage in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20), as it is the closest thing I know of, to the discipleship process Jesus himself modeled. Jesus never asked someone to become a Christian, he asked them to deny everything in this life, follow him and become a disciple.
6. Internships allow us to invest in the future of our church. The most recent intern that is joining our staff, is 18 years younger than I am! The potential for the future of our church is something that really gets me charged up!
So what about you? Do you have an internship program in your church? Why not start one and begin to reap the benefits for your church and your intern.