“My name is Mark Etheridge and I’ve had the opportunity to be a Student Ministry Intern under Josh for the second straight summer. I can honestly say that interning has been one of the greatest experiences of my life, and one of the most beneficial components to my ministry preparation. Here I would like to share a few thoughts about what to expect when you start a ministry internship and how to gain experience that will give you a solid foundation for learning vocational ministry skills.
You Get to Gain Practical Experience. This is one the primary goals of any internship, to get experience! The book knowledge can only go so far, and there’s comes a time when you simply have to get out there and just do it! I recently graduated from Liberty University this past spring where my specialization was in youth ministry. It’s a great institution and I learned a lot about ministry while I was there, but where I have learned the most about ministry is here in the local church where I get to apply the principles that I have learned. In 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul says, “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” The Bible teaches that the local church has the responsibility to train men who are faithful so they can then teach others. I am privileged to be a part of a church that is living out this instruction, and am honored to be someone who is in this process of training!
You Get to See Ministry from a Different Angle. I look back now and think how much my ministry perspective has changed ever since I’ve been an intern. Before interning, I was a student leader in high school and then became a volunteer college leader in our ministry. Being a volunteer was awesome! But there was so much more “behind the scenes” to ministry that I never saw before. For instance, when I thought our ministry needed something, I just thought we could go out and buy it. However, I didn’t grasp the idea that churches have something called a budget. We only had a couple of months left of our yearly budget at that point, and we couldn’t simply spend the money on something that we “needed” even though we already owned what we needed, I just couldn’t find it. Needless to say, you will see things differently when you are put in this position, and just remember that things are different on this side of the fence.
You Get to Do Things You Never Thought You Could Do. For me, this has been one most enjoyable parts of my internship. It’s always fun getting to do something that you never imagined you could do. Last summer when I showed up for my first day, Josh was planning for big retreat that would be happening in two weeks. So when I arrived, there was plenty to do. Josh didn’t waste any time, and begin to plug me into the position by giving me responsibilities for the retreat. He put me over the programming side of the event, which entailed organizing games, leader responsibilities, and other various parts of programming. It was a little overwhelming at times, but it was tons of fun! Something that I never expected to be doing just a few weeks later I was getting the opportunity to do! I look back on things like this, and realize how God gave me the grace to be a part of His work, and how He will always sustain me and stretch me for the purpose of bringing glory to His name.
If they opportunity arises for you to participate in a ministry internship, I would highly recommend it. There’s so much wisdom that you will be able to glean from with the people around you, and the responsibilities you will be given. I would say the key component to having an effective internship is to remain teachable. There are times during your internship when you will feel like you know everything, and there will be times when you will feel like you know nothing. Always keep at the forefront of your mind that it is an extreme privilege to participate in any kind of God’s work. Any kind of ministry internship never something that should be taken lightly, and it will be one of the most beneficial parts of your preparation as a minister of the gospel of Jesus.”