The Intern’s Story: The Beauty In Investing In the Life of Another

Research shows that those individuals who pursue happiness are the most unhappy.  Yet, those who live their lives to serve others indicate a deeper satisfaction in life.  Isn’t that an interesting fact.  The Bible has taught this all along, hasn’t it?  Christians are taught to live for the good of others in obedience to Christ.  We live to give ourselves away in the discipling of others so that they might take our example and do the same.  One way we do that at our church is through our intern program.  We see it as more of a laser focused discipleship ministry than a traditional intern program.  

I’ve asked one of my past interns and now staff member to give us some ways he has been molded, in part, through many Fellowshippers pouring themselves into him.  Then I will close with some thoughts.  Take it away Heath McClure…

From Hollywood movies such as The Intern to watching youth interns every summer at my church growing up, the idea of “an intern” seemed both disturbing and frightening. Modern culture has turned what could be a wonderful learning experience for many young professionals into a dark, dreary rite of passage filled with endless coffee runs that everyone must inevitably undergo on their way to greatness.

The notion of an intern has been so warped that internships are no longer appreciated for what they are intended to be (at least among Christians): discipleship. Here are 2 powerful reasons why interning is so critical to future success and how I experienced that within Fellowship Church.

1 — The Setting

For most young, bright-eyed seminary students on their way to pastoral ministry, the dream is to one day pastor a church of their own. However, the fact of the matter is that those called to ministry simply need seasoning as they prepare to take on the task of shepherding God’s flock. 
In the New Testament, Timothy becomes a pastor over the church at Ephesus, but he doesn’t do so immediately. He assumes that role after years of intimate walking with the Apostle Paul and learning from him about what it means to pastor a group of people. He took advantage of the opportunity to be in a setting that he otherwise may not have been in and, rather than complain about how he didn’t have his own ministry or church yet, he humbled himself and accepted Paul’s discipling and formative work in his life.

For myself, the opportunity to work at a church like FC is similar to Timothy’s time with Paul. While part of me would like to be off doing my own ministry now and shepherding a flock, I recognize that I’ve been blessed with a strong, healthy church with a great pastor and this is a season when I can simply soak up all that’s happening around me and learn what it looks like to shepherd a church.

2 — The Humbling

While many interns would be glad to have a church immediately and take over as much responsibility as they can get their hands on, wise pastors do not dump everything on them that a senior pastor is responsible for immediately. Rather, they give them smaller tasks that they can handle to build seasoning and teach them the importance of being faithful to the big and the small.

In Matthew 25 Jesus told a parable of a master who went away for a while and left his servants with varying amounts of talents to look after in his absence. He gave one 10, another 5, and another 1. The master expected them to be faithful no matter how much he’d given them.
The life of an intern can be a humbling one that is often not glamorous. (I’ve taken out moldy dry wall as part of my internship). However, through it all, the call to be faithful to Christ and to my church never changes. The amount we’ve been entrusted with is unimportant in the grand scheme of things, God cares about our faithfulness and how we use what he’s given us, not how much we’ve been given.

An internship is rarely glamorous, rarely the end goal in life, and rarely the best job in an organization/church. However, it’s one of the most formative and shaping experiences and one that I can’t imagine trying to go into ministry without. As you begin to embrace the calling on an internship for a season and lean into what God has entrusted you with, you begin to experience joy through your obedience and sanctification.

Pastor Chris again…in what areas can you invest in others?  How can you be a Paul to a Timothy in your life?  Perhaps you have that opportunity at work, but it’s very possible you may not.  How about you begin to pray, asking the Lord to entrust to you a young man or woman, that you could have a hand in shaping and modeling the Christlike life to.  Will you?
Pastor Chris Williams
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