Romans 12:1-2: "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
I must confess, I've found myself spending more time in the book of Romans over the course of my life than any other book. If you've met me, you know I can tend to be an intense person at times with a pseudo calm demeanor; but I personally thrive in relationship that is honest and loving at the same time. We've lost the idea of what "Tough Love" really is- I believe we've substituted the word 'tough' with the action 'rough', and it has become a excuse for people to be jerks without consequence of people... but that's another blog for another time. Back to Romans and interns.
So the question remains: what should you look for in a ministry intern? What makes the difference? If you missed part 1, you can find it here: (https://www.trailside.church/single-post/2019/03/05/Qualities-you-need-in-an-Intern-A-Bold-Calling-part-1). In addition to a clear calling, a great intern must also display a sacrificial heart.
Simply put, a church can do more ministry with greater investment if an intern's heart begins with a sacrificial state. A ministry intern should be discerning their own call to ministry, and if a quality of sacrifice isn't there, they won't endure. Ministry takes great sacrifice in each capacity of life. This is because true sacrifice in action displays a couple of things out loud within the heart of an intern minister, without the need of words:
1. I am not in charge, and I am ok with that. When an intern serves sacrificially, they display to the leadership and church at large (and even their own family and friends) that they are not only 'ok' with not being in charge, but that they thrive within the knowledge that it is God who has set their path and they are willing to walk it as He calls them to (see how this is all working together?) no matter if that means truly denying themselves for the sake of His call.
2. I am willing to step out of comfort for the call given to me. Our interns are all in college, and with that comes significant challenges: a large investment of time in school, little to no income (our interns are still unpaid- love you guys!), high expectations, and social time...yet they still give a ton of themselves and their own schedule for the sake of being an intern. This means they literally have to be 'high-capacity' in all avenues of service. They don't have as much of the luxury to sit around and waste time, and they have to prioritize nearly everything in life in order to accomplish all they've been called to. The difference is that a true call allows the minister to find joy and fulfillment in sticking with the call, which when coupled with the sacrificial nature leads to empowerment instead of agitation.
It stretches them regularly, and they are fine with that. I've seen many college students take the first year to lackadaisically walk through their college which only then continues into the next year, and the next year, and the next; having an intern who is ok with the challenge of being called out of their comfort zone and make every minute matter is a game changer.
3. I am willing to work hard now for what may come in the future. In my introductory post, I shared that I was an intern as often as I could be. I knew that if I was willing to invest then I would be not only more prepared for any interview I was in, but also once I received the position I would not be going into it blind. This allowed me great success personally and the ability to handle stressful situations better than I would have been able to because I had experienced so much of the ministry already from the safe umbrella of my bosses.
Our interns are willing to work hard and sacrifice right now because they know and understand that once our church solidifies and their roles increase, they may not only receive financial help to get through school, but upon their graduation they will be at the top of the food chain when we are seeking to hire them full time for a position in our thriving and growing church. Succinctly, Calling brings Sacrifice which then feeds long term vision.
If you are seeking an intern but don't want to fill a ministry hole with a warm body, make sure they understand how important sacrifice is. There is absolutely NOTHING that says a 19-20 year old cant minister just as effectively as a full time employee of the church. I will take 10 interns who are willing to sacrifice over one full time position any day of the week. You can't create calling just as well as you can't force sacrifice. Finding an intern who is willing to do both is the calling card of a great intern and a future world changing minister.
The hard part for you as the Pastor/Leader/Director/Whatever is if you are willing to do two things: You must DISPLAY and MODEL the sacrificial heart of leading and you must be willing to call it out of them while keeping them accountable. Bad leadership develops bad leaders, and if you are wanting to raise up a generation of future pastors and ministers, you simply cannot fail at leading them out of your own ability and call.
Next time we'll shift the discussion a bit from only discussing the qualities of a great intern into how those qualities work within your own leadership. Empowerment and allowing them to lead even at the risk of momentary failure makes all the difference, and I can't wait to share how I've messed that up in the past.