In the summer of 2006, I took on my first internship, I was easily, there worst hire.
Literally, I believe to this day that I was there worst hire. Ever.
But they kept me there, though it was only for a summer, they pushed through and endured my ignorance, my “know it all” attitude, my frustration towards the church as a whole. And for that I am thankful. And because of that I did grow, and learn from the situation, it was a start, it was a huge part of my process towards sanctification… But I thought I’d share three things they did do that we as youth pastors can keep in mind and implement when “dealing” with our own interns:
1. Grace – They left room for mistakes. In the summer internship our big project was to plan the “Access Olympics”, which was a weeks worth of fun and games where we gathered all the small groups together and had them compete against each other in various events. The small group that won the most events won “Access Olympics”.
We had been planning the event all summer long, the day of the event arrived and we were to be there at 6am sharp… all of us but one showed. We were furious and frustrated to be left with setting his side of responsibilities up, leaving far more work for us all, causing things to start off late… I thought to myself then, “How could he sleep in of all days?!” I remember Joel pulling us aside as interns, as Mike was pulling into the parking lot at 10am (4 hours late!), and asked us to put ourselves in his shoes… asked us to imagine how we would feel if we were in his place, reminding us this is an opportunity to not reprimand but to show GRACE. This was not anything he did on purpose, it was a mistake that honestly could happen to the best of us (and has or will happen to most of us) This is just one of the many examples of how Joel and Anson (our other boss) showed us, not only, grace, but love, forgiveness, and understanding.
2. Patience – Alongside of grace they embraced patience. They understood we weren’t there yet. They didn’t expect us to be the full package. They knew there was a HUGE learning curve amongst all of us. When we questioned why we were asked to perform certain tasks, what the point of Access Olympics was, etc… they patiently put up and endured our presence there teaching us, walking with us through our ignorance’s and frustrations… Though I’m positive they at times wanted to kill one us (that being me most of the time), they didn’t. They worked and pushed through it.
3. Opportunity – they empowered us as interns and allowed us opportunity to try new things out. Big Valley is where I found my passion. This was the first place I was given the opportunity to speak. 8 years later I’m speaking throughout California time. They not only gave us opportunities to speak, but they essentially handed much of the ministry over to us for the summer (of course with guidance, direction, and supervision). Opportunity, not only empowers but it equips.
If you’re bringing in interns this year, remember having an intern is a ministry in and of itself. Interns can be blessings or they can be curses… in the same way so can you too be either a blessing or a curse to them, so remember your role as their boss, and do you best to embrace patience and grace, while giving them the opportunity to grow and possibly even find their calling within ministry.