Can my church have a pastoral internship, even if we have no money or resources?

Yes, you can!  In fact, we have done so for almost a decade without a dime in the budget going to it.  It started off that way because I saw the need, we had young men desiring to be trained, but we had no funds to pour into it.  We have continued to do our internship this way because…well there is still no money, but we also wanted to demonstrate for other pastors and churches money and resources are unnecessary for this.  All it takes is a pastor willing to give his time and young men willing to give their time.

We seek in a four month period to try and take these interns through a crash course in pastoral ministry.  Here are some of the details of our pastoral internship with hopes it will help you see you can design something similar:

1)  The Pastor’s Time

The most important resource for a pastoral internship is simply the wisdom, insight, experience, and time of a pastor.  Why is this? Because so much of ministry is learned doing it with someone who teaches as they do ministry.  As I plan to go the hospital, I try to take an intern with me.  When I do a funeral, I take an intern with me.  When I go to visit an elderly widow, I take an intern with me.  Then, in each of these opportunities, we talk on the way and as we return.  I ask them questions leading up to the event, then ask them follow up questions after we leave.  I also meet once a week for one to two hours with the interns and we talk about all kinds of different aspects of pastoral ministry, discuss books I ask them to read, and expose them to the trench work of the ministry in a way the classroom cannot.  Pastors, you and your daily ministry are the only essential resources you need to train young men for ministry.

2)  The Pastoral Intern’s Time

There cannot be a pastoral internship with pastoral interns.  When there is no money to pay interns as is the case in our church, a young man must see the value of simply giving his time to it.  We ask our interns to commit ten hours a week, but that is flexible depending upon their schedule and availability.  Their time is spent in two ways:  Time with me doing and discussing ministry, and time the intern does ministry on his own.  After they go to the hospital with me, then I send them to the hospital.  After they go with me to visit a widow or two, they go back to the same widow and visit on their own.  They give time to read books on their own, then meet and discuss them with me.  They give time to pray through the membership directory, attend pastor’s meetings, and attend Sunday evening service review, all required tasks.

3)  The Church’s Time

If we desire to train young men for the ministry through doing ministry in our local church, then the members of the church must be willing to give their time also.  Widows must be willing to allow these young men to visit them and be gracious as they stumble and learn.  Sick people must be willing to allow young men to visit them in the hospital, even though the intern may be more nervous than the sick person being visited.  The church must be willing to give their time to come Sunday evenings and hear these men preach if given the opportunity.  This third piece is necessary for young men to learn how to care for God’s flock.  Without real people involved willing to give their time, real ministry cannot be accomplished.

Pastors, it is nice to have money to pay interns and different resources to shower upon these training and learning about ministry in our church.  But the only essential resource to do a pastoral internship is sharing your time, gifts, experience, and wisdom with them as you do ministry.  Embrace your value in these areas.  You have much to offer whether you have pastored fifty years or five months.  Invest your time and encourage others to do the same, and start that internship or training program you know you need, but have waited for the funds and resources to be provided.

Posted in Training for Ministry
9 comments on “Can my church have a pastoral internship, even if we have no money or resources?
  1. Brian…Thank you for this. Would it be possible to see what documents you have for this internship?

    Thanks,
    pete

  2. I’ll take anything you’ve got: description of the program that you give the interns, reading syllabus, evaluation forms, etc.

  3. Luke says:

    I would love anything you could give on that as well. Any documents or syllabi or whatever you use to guide the course. There is a dearth of things like this for pastors in my area, and my church wants to help fill that gap.

  4. Jason says:

    I would be interested in any documents like that as well to help get something like this off the ground. I have wanted to do it for quite some time.

  5. Kevin Cuthbertson says:

    NAMB also has a fund that goes to paying for interns in an SBC church. If funds become something that is needed, they have a student missionary position where they will fund an intern to your church for up to one year. It sounds like if this is the kind of activity that you plan for your interns, then it would qualify for the money.

  6. Jeff Downs says:

    You may also be interested in “Fulfilling the Great Commission through Pastoral Internships”, by Ronald E. Pearce in Confident of Better Things: Essays Commemorating Seventy-five years of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (Willow Grove, PA: OPC, 2011), 267-76.

    The OPC has a good internship program and certain men in the OPC have had many interns (Pearce being one of them).

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Can my church have a pastoral internship, even if we have no money or resources?"
  1. […] Can My Church Have a Pastoral Internship With No Money or Resources? - Brian Croft answers Yes to this question that I assume many pastors and churches have just brushed to the side. As a young guy preparing for ministry, I will tell you that Croft nails it in this article. […]

  2. […] Brian Croft. Can my church have a pastoral internship, even if we have no money or resource? Croft shares how his church bring interns in for four months for a crash course on pastoral ministry. This requires giving the church and pastor some of his time to serve them. […]

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