Internship programs are not a new fad, trend or concept. In fact, internships, also known as apprenticeships, are prominently found in the old and new testaments of the Bible. Think about the amazing training, nurturing and guidance that Joshua received from Moses or Elisha from Elijah. Consider the same of Paul’s training of Silas and Timothy or the amazing life lessons that Jesus taught the disciples. In essence, internships present the opportunity for practical training in real time within a real setting dealing with real people. Whether in biblical times, or in contemporary settings such as within vocational, nonprofit or corporate situations, internships provide a safe and nurturing space to learn, to test interest, to expand social network and in some cases to seize opportunities previously unknown. Although most competitive and prestigious internships are often compensated, there are many valuable opportunities that are partially compensated through a fixed stipend or not compensated at all. Most internship programs last between 6-12 weeks while others may last as long as 6 months. All internships, however, should have a formal vetting process that includes an application and an interview.
Here are 5 reasons why your church might consider developing an internship program:
Invest in Rising Talent
From the gifted individuals within your congregation to the amazingly talented members of your neighborhood (who have no opportunity to share their God-given gifts), our churches should serve as an incubator for rising talent. Internships can offer a mutually beneficial, safe space where talented individuals can offer their gifts to God through service. Internship programs offer a lucrative opportunity for congregations to invest in rising talent.
Groom Future Leaders
Through a structured and selective vetting process, congregations have the privilege to serve as a training ground to groom future leaders through providing leadership development and creating spaces for future leaders to serve. Potential leaders are born everyday but most will never have the opportunity to be nurtured, developed and groomed into their greatness. Internship programs offer an opportunity to groom future leaders.
Prevent Future Personnel Shortage
Across the country and beyond, churches of all sizes routinely lament shortages of personnel and talent. Whether congregations seek musicians, choral directors, liturgical dance directors or other expressive arts ministry members, there is a trend towards shortages of not only personnel and talent but also for a variety of opportunities and experiences for the gifted and talented individuals seeking to serve as leaders. For smaller congregations with limited financial resources but with an abundance of wise, knowledgeable and experienced servant leaders, an internship program is a wonderful opportunity to share your wealth. Likewise, medium sized and larger congregations who are interested in pursuing a new area of ministry or looking for seasonal assistance can equally benefit from an internship program.
Potential Succession Plan
Internship programs can aid in creating a training environment for a potential successor to a transitioning member (or leader) of your current team. Regardless of the rank, title or tenure, people are always in transition and a constant flow of interns could aid your congregation in not only experiencing the diversity of God’s gifting but also identify someone who might be invited back at some later point in order to serve in a longer capacity.
Share God’s Blessing of Success in Ministry
If your congregation has been abundantly blessed with vision, talent and success in developing best practices and effective strategies in ministry, why wouldn’t you open the doors to share with those who are interested, willing and ready to learn from you? Internships can be a phenomenal experience for those who are interested in learning from you and your congregation. Equally, an internship program can provide an amazing opportunity for your congregation to share God’s blessing of success in ministry.
Stay tuned as we discuss more about Internship Programs in our next post. As always, if we can be of assistance don’t hesitate to be in touch.
Emmett G. Price III, Ph.D. is president and founder of the Black Church Music Ministry Project. BCMMP aims to “serve, nurture and develop spiritual leaders within music ministry.” For additional information please visit http://www.BCMMP.org or contact us via email at info@BCMMP.org.
© Black Church Music Ministry Project, Inc. all rights reserved