5 Benefits of a Church Internship Program

One of the goals I have had for some time is to build an internship program into my church. I’m not exactly sure what this will look like, how we will do it, or when I will be able to do it, but I am convinced of the necessity and benefits. Here are 5 reasons pastors should consider building an internship program into their churches.

1- It is a way to train and invest in the next generation of church leaders.

This is by far the most important reason. If we only invest in our generation the church will not survive beyond us. Investing in the next generation of church leaders communicates that we care about the impact of our churches beyond just the here and now. It is a way for churches to maximize their impact.

2- It is a way to gain insights on your current ministry from a fresh set of eyes.

There is always the danger of only looking at your ministry through the same set of eyes. Over time weak areas of ministry get overlooked. Things that may need addressing are excused due to the fact that they have been accepted as normal. By bringing an intern on staff, you are able to learn from a new perspective. This can be a huge benefit.

3- It is a way to find potential staff members.

Finding and hiring staff is always a challenge. Having an internship program within your church is a way to find potential staff in a way that allows you to learn about them, see their potential, and see them in action. It is not uncommon for an intern to become permanent staff.

4- It is a way to help people discover God’s specific calling for their lives.

There may be people who come to do an internship at your church who know God wants them in ministry, but they are unsure about what aspect of ministry. An internship gives them the opportunity to learn about different aspects of ministry, get involved in various ministries, and discover in what area of ministry they are gifted and passionate.

5- It is a way to get help in certain areas of your ministry that may be weak.

Growing churches can always use help. There is always an aspect of ministry that can use more attention, more planning, and more workers. Having an internship program in your church is a way, in part, to get immediate help in certain areas of ministry. Obviously this may not be a long-term solution, but it can provide some immediate help.

An internship program may not be right for every church, but I do think it provides benefits that most churches can experience.

Does it take work? Yes.

Are there challenges? Yes.

Does it take a financial investment? Yes.

Can it further God’s kingdom? Most definitely.

After 50 Years of Ministry: 7 Things I’d Do Differently & 7 Things I’d Do the Same (Chicago: Moody Publishers, June 7, 2016)

One of the things I try to do is learn from older, experienced pastors. They have walked where I walk and survived. They have learned from years of experience. They have wisdom from which I can benefit.

However, finding older and experienced pastors who are willing to consistently invest in younger pastors has proven challenging.

This is why books like this one are valuable. Bob Russell’s After 50 Years of Ministry is written with the goal of helping younger pastors. As the title suggests, Russell shares 7 things he would do differently in ministry if given the opportunity, as well as 7 things he would do the same. Russell’s transparency, wisdom, humor, and 50 years of experience all work together to provide helpful information to the younger pastor who is seeking to glean from the experience of those who have walked before us.

This is a book I would highly recommend to all pastors. It is easy to read, fun to read, and will prove both encouraging and challenging.

6 Ways Pastors Can Lead Their Churches To Emphasize Prayer

A significant problem in many churches is the lack of focus on prayer. There is a difference between being a church that sometimes prays and being a praying church. One thing is clear in the book of Acts; the early church was a praying church. If we want to follow their example, we must become churches that emphasize prayer. Here are 6 ways we can do that.

1- Incorporate Intentional Prayer into the Worship Service

I know, you already pray in your worship services, but in many churches prayer is a good transition, a good opening, or a good closing to the service. Prayer must play a more vital role in our worship services.

Incorporating times of intentional prayer will demonstrate your belief in the importance and power of prayer.

2- Have Regular Meetings for Prayer that Emphasize God Working in and Through the Church

For years, most churches had a Wednesday evening prayer meeting. What started as a way to pray for God to move and to work in and through his church, turned into a time to pray for the same physical needs of people in the church, week after week. While it is certainly not wrong to pray for physical needs, the focus shifted off of praying for God to work.

Have times of prayer that are focused on asking God to work as only he can.

3- Preach a Sermon Series on Prayer

Perhaps prayer is not a focus because people have not been taught that it is to be a focus. Preaching a sermon series on prayer in the early church can help the congregation see the importance of prayer and the power of prayer.

4- Start a Prayer Ministry Team

There are many people in the church who will pray daily and specifically for the church if they are simply challenged, encouraged, and equipped to do so. Here is what to do:

  • Communicate the need for people to be on a prayer ministry team.
  • Build a list of people who have committed to pray for the church daily.
  • Have your prayer list structured so that it mirrors the stated purposes of your church.
  • Pass out or e-mail those people a list of specific ways they can pray for the church that week.
  • Celebrate answered prayer.

5- Incorporate Prayer into Every Meeting

If prayer is, in part, demonstrating reliance on God and not ourselves, then every meeting needs to intentionally incorporate prayer – not in a way that is just going through the motions, but in a way that says “we needs God’s guidance and wisdom.”

6- Have a Quarterly 24-hour Prayer Focus

Churches will sometimes do this when there is a major need or event taking place, such as looking for a new pastor, planning a major evangelistic event, or interceding on behalf of others who are facing tragedy. But why not do this on a regular basis? Have people sign up for 30-minute time slots and commit to pray for the church during that time. Prayer is not only needed for special events; it is needed at all times.

People often wonder about the secret to Charles Spurgeon’s powerful preaching. I am convinced it is the fact that there would be as may as 700 people gathered together praying for him, his preaching, and his church before almost every service.

Prayer needs to be at the center of the church. It needs to be a focal point for the church. It is to be the source of power in the church. We desperately need to get back to emphasizing prayer in our local churches.

What are some ways you emphasize prayer in your church? Please comment below.