Church internships are great. For the church and for the intern.
If they’re done right (yes, that’s a big “if”), they can confirm or define a call to ministry, provide real-life experience, enhance classroom learning, and bless a local church.
If you’re a pastor who thinks you can’t run an internship program because your church is small, think again.
And if you’re a college student or high school senior considering a church internship, a small church may be your best option.
For instance, the small church I pastor offers three different types of internships. A year-long residential, a summer intensive and a school year option.
In the last decade-plus, we’ve seen over 100 interns come through our doors and bless our church. We’ve also been a blessing to them. Not in spite of being a small church, but in a lot of ways because we’re a small church.
(This is the first in a series about small church internships. For more info, check out 10 Steps to Get an Internship Ministry Started In a Small Church and 10 Essential Ingredients for Running an Effective Small Church Internship.)
Yes, big churches have a lot to offer an intern. They have options, programs and benefits that no small church can match. But a big church internship isn’t for everyone. And small churches offer some significant benefits of our own. Advantages that big churches can’t compete with.
So, why should students consider an internship in a small church? Here are 7 reasons:
1. You’ll Learn About Multiple Aspects of Church Life
The bigger the church, the more narrowly-focused the internship is likely to be. They might even have separate tracks for worship, youth, administration, etc.
But in a small church, you’ll touch every aspect of church life. Even if your main ministry focus is narrow, it will impact and be impacted by other ministries.
This will broaden your understanding of church life in a way that a narrow sliver of ministry exposure just can’t do.
2. You’ll Build Life-Long Relationships With People Who are Different from You
In a big church, worship team members get to know other worship team members, youth workers get to know youth, etc.
In a small church, you’ll interact with people of all ages, backgrounds and tastes. Sometimes that will be a challenge. But that challenge will stretch you. And it will introduce you to wonderful people who you might not meet otherwise.