Our hope for those who participate in our four-month pastoral internship we offer at our church is to experience all kinds of different facets of pastoral ministry. It is designed to be a crash course in pastoral ministry and by the end of it have a better understanding of the calling and daily life of a pastor and whether their desire for this work has grown from it. Each pastoral intern’s final assignment is to write a report to the church that summarizes this entire experience. Here is a portion of one report that I was very pleased and encouraged to read:
Not only am I thankful for the learning experience, but I’m also thankful for the opportunity to be tested and challenged in my calling. I have been pursuing ministry for the last 9 years of my life, and never have I been more challenged or tested to see whether I was truly called. I have been shown the importance of being tested by others to see whether my gifts and life is what Scripture calls for in a pastor. I have seen both my weaknesses and my strengths, and have been challenged to improve on both. I always felt restrained by my weaknesses, as if I couldn’t move forward in ministry until I had all my weaknesses fixed, but only now do I realize that all pastors have weaknesses and continue to improve upon them. Because I have been tested and challenged in these ways I am better prepared than I was before. To any who are considering entering the ministry I would strongly encourage you to consider putting yourself in a place where you can be tested by others. Again, I am thankful for you all, for the way that you watch and carefully evaluate those of us who desire this great work.
Keep in mind there is no compensation of any kind for our pastoral interns, we do not have one dime of our budget that is alotted to it, nor do we have any staff other than myself to oversee it. Yet, God in His grace still works in these young brother’s lives because of their willingness to committ their time to it and our church’s gracious effort to participate in it.
Dear brothers and fellow pastors. Create something similar at your church. If you have been using “lack of resources” as your excuse to begin this process within your church…stop. If you have been using “lack of time” as your crutch…make the time. You have all you need in you (or your pastor) and the people of your congregation to create an environment that allows these brothers to learn and minister to your church in the process. May the Lord give you wisdom, discernment, and grace to help you know how you must proceed in the place to which you and your church find yourselves.