In the coming months, you may welcome a vicar (pastoral intern), director of Christian education intern or deaconess intern into your congregation, school, or organization. Staff members of LCMS Youth Ministry have had the opportunity to recently meet some of these wonderful servants and reflect on of our own internships. We pray for God’s blessings upon this next season of learning for the many interns heading out to serve and offer these tips and reminders.
5 reminders for congregations receiving a vicar or intern this summer
- God has provided the resources for effective ministry – Word and Sacrament, church workers and members, young people, parents, volunteers, and the intern him or herself. Rely on God and His gifts. Stand on the strong shoulders of others.
- Provide a support system for your intern. This may be a team of members who care for the intern and his/her needs and provide encouragement. Or, if the intern is working in a specific ministry area (e.g., youth), it might be the ministry committee or task force. If the intern is tasked with starting a program or ministry emphasis, it is vital a team is assembled to carry on the work once the intern returns to school or moves onto his/her church vocation.
- Pray for your intern. Pray for him/her publically, and ask your congregation to regularly pray as well.
- Learning is a life-long journey. Interns are at the beginning of their experience in ministry in terms of real-life situations and ministry opportunities. They are there to learn from your congregation and other church workers. Strive to provide a healthy environment which will give interns the ability to grown in their gifts and skills. Interns should not be viewed as “inexpensive labor” nor should they be expected to competently fill all aspects of ministry. Your congregation, school, or organization has a vital role in providing your intern a positive foundation for their service in the church.
- Each event, Bible study, and interaction with a congregational or community member is an opportunity for the intern to grow in his/her abilities and to model faithfulness and humility for others. Provide avenues for feedback when and where possible and appropriate.
Preparing to welcome a vicar or intern into your youth, children and family ministry? Stay tuned for The Blessing of Interns Part II.
Interested in reading more about an intern’s experience at a congregation? Follow Brandon Metcalf, DCE, as he blogs about his experience as an intern and now newly called church worker on the YouthESource.