Are you interested in pursuing a pastoral internship at Calvary Bible Church? We are glad to hear it! Interning at Calvary Bible Church is an opportunity to gain practical ministry experience, to work in an environment of personal and professional guidance and support, to test your gifts and call to vocational ministry, and to develop spiritually and theologically as you serve under and alongside our pastoral staff.
Good men are few and far between, especially when it comes to good shepherds. Shepherding is not easily grasped, nor is it always natural, but most often must be learned. According to God’s great plan spelled out in Genesis, all healthy living things will reproduce “after its kind.” This healthy reproduction should be seen in the life of the church. Good shepherds should reproduce “after their kind.” The relationships of Paul and Timothy or of Paul and Titus serve as wonderful examples of the importance of this reproducing cycle in the work of the ministry. Acts 16 seems to indicate that Paul noticed a young man named Timothy and wanted him to accompany him on his journeys because he knew Timothy would be a help to him in the ministry (Acts 16:1-3). He eventually refers to Timothy as “my fellow worker” (Romans 16:21), a “kindred spirit” (Philippians 2:20), and a “true child” (1 Timothy 1:2). Paul, as a “servant shepherd” understood the meaning of the idea of time and exposure. He spent time with Christ, was exposed to Him in the desert, and sought to mimic this experience in the disciple-making process of reproducing himself in the lives of those who followed him. Other names of disciples of Paul include men like Barnabas, Silas, John Mark, Apollos, Luke, Dionysius, Damaris, Gaius, Sopater, Tychicus, Trophimus, Stephanas, Clement, and Epaphrus. These men and more experienced a personal, one-on-one relationship with Paul to some degree where Paul granted these men time, energy, ministerial accountability, and assessment. For years the apostle would pour his life, vision, God’s Word, ministry philosophy, and life experiences into these young men in order that they might be more prepared and equipped to do the work of the Lord. The key point here is that real reproduction takes place in a one-on-one dynamic that gives time and exposure of the older in ministry to the younger. This must happen intentionally with design and purpose.
The design of this reproduction can be summed up in the Great Command to “Make Disciples” (Matthew 28:16-20). It should begin at the lowest level possible, with children, then make its way into every age group of the church with life-on-life modeling of the gospel, and should continue all the way to a body of believers actually reproducing itself in another body of believers (Church Planting).
There are two important aspects of this discipleship:
Discipleship is by nature relational. God’s Word uses many different terms to indicate this relational nature. Words such as “body,” family terms (i.e. Father, Sons, Children), as well as terms of endearment (i.e. fellow servant, kinsman, etc.) all demonstrate this idea. It is difficult to go to just one passage of Scripture to get a complete understanding of all that discipleship is, but an examination of the word “disciple” is helpful. The Greek word is the word “mathetes” which means “one who is a disciplined learner from another.” Paul says it best in 2 Timothy 2:2 “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” A disciple is not a mere learner, such as one who simply takes a class, but the root word “math” indicates “thought accompanied by endeavor” (Expository Dictionary of NT Words, W. E Vine, Revell, 1966). This indicates that discipleship is learning in the context of doing; a disciple then is a follower. The emphasis is on focused, regular learning activities over a period of time, rather than merely lecture.
Discipleship is a process, not an event. In his book Discipleship, Helping Other Christians Grow, Allen Hadidian says, “Discipling is the process in which a Christian with a life worth emulating commits himself to an extended period of time to a few individuals who have been won to Christ, the purpose being to aid and guide their growth to maturity and to equip them to reproduce themselves in a third spiritual generation.”
Three Key Connections:
Relational – learning to “give and take;” following the “one-anothers” of Scripture
Intentional – initiates; sees the potential; pursues
Time-Intensive – laborious, not convenient, takes perseverance and intentionality
In the Middle East, the educational maxim was, “I learn by doing, and I learn so that I may do.” Western education is Greek in its origin. It is far more theoretical and philosophical, and often follows the maxim, “I learn so that I may know.” In the Western mindset, the teacher often expounds glorious theories even though he has never practiced the subject he teaches. The Jewish world was uniquely different. James warned new believers to be doers of the Word and not hearers only (James 1:22).
Ministry itself is an action word meaning “to serve.” Modeling ministry by careful serving is the most effective way ministry is learned. Christ makes it easy for us to understand it since He modeled it for us. It takes time for effective learning of all that a “minister” needs to learn. Discipleship is a life-change toward Christ-likeness in the context of relationship. What does this look like? Let’s compare Eastern methodology with Western:
Learn by listening
Learn for ministry
Know about God
For my GPA and my career
Teacher in front of students
I can do
Learn by doing
Learn in ministry
Teacher working with students
The key to this internship is not a notebook full of outlines and quotes. Thus, the structure is a relational structure that centers on a transparent, open, and frank relationship with the staff and people of Calvary Bible Church. This kind of working relationship is not built around a time clock or a strictly followed 8-5 schedule, as life and certainly ministry is just not that way. The intern must be a self-starter and must discipline himself to faithfulness, cooperation, adaptation, and discernment. Much will be accomplished in the life of the intern who aggressively pursues each person on the staff to learn under him and sometimes with him. Ministry as well as life often has its own ebb and flow and the student of shepherding will adapt and adjust to the work of God within the bounds of daily ministry and life. It may seem as though there is little or no structure, especially in the beginning stages of the internship. Use this time to read or pursue people and allow God to expand your ministry as He expands your capacity for ministry. At times it will seem that there is too much going on. This too is a time to readjust your schedule—just like in life. It is at this point that character, humility, servanthood, and ministry will all come together and help you make the necessary decisions to adjust.
The overarching purpose of a formal internship is assessment. This is a time of assessing the intern in all areas of life so that a determination can be made about his calling, giftedness, and equipping for the ministry.
The assessing process of the formal internship will fall into four broad categories:
The Demonstration of Integrity in Ministry – The intern will seek to demonstrate in his personal life and public life a faithfulness of character and integrity that match the biblical qualifications of ministry outlined in God’s Word. (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1).
The Diligence of Study – The intern will be diligent in his study and use of the Word of God and by example show that the Scriptures alone are sufficient for life. He will demonstrate a clear grasp of biblical data, doctrinal issues, and theological tensions. His diligence will be seen in his appropriate articulation of God’s Word in public teaching and preaching as well as in his private counseling (Psalm 19:7-9; 2 Timothy 3:15-17). He will seek the whole counsel of the Word without any personal agenda or particular theological rabbit trails.
The Dedication to Discipleship – The intern will dedicate himself to show his love and concern for sheep through careful discipleship and personal care for people. He will be shown in Word and in example the importance of evangelization of the lost and will learn the skills of one-on-one discipleship as well as the dynamics of the broader scope of disciple-making that should be the heartbeat of his ministry (Matthew 28:18-20; Colossians 1:28-29).
The Discipline in Ministry – The intern will discipline his life in all areas so that his life will show an accurate picture of His God. He will learn by Word and by example that the faithful minister must control his passions and aggressively pursue spiritual disciplines in all areas—including the physical body. (Acts 20:28a; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 1 Timothy 4:7b-8, 16).
There is no way a young man can ever be prepared for everything that will beset the shepherd. However, gaining experience in ministry alongside another shepherd is invaluable to the preparation process so that the intern can go into ministry with a pattern of ministry to follow. The following procedures will help the intern get the necessary experiences needed:
Observation – The intern will attend all major meetings of the pastors/elders/deacons and any special committee meetings as necessary. This allows the intern to observe the church leadership in their decision-making process and policymaking. He is to observe and to perceive the magnitude of ministry, the urgency and sobriety of ministry, as well as the weight of the ministry in all of its facets. He will act as an observer in counseling sessions, marriages, funerals, discipline scenarios, all visitations, budget meetings, and all other meetings deemed appropriate.
Participation – The intern will participate in church activities in a “behind the scenes” fashion as well as a ministry coordinator in assigned positions. He will participate in leading of public worship, baptism and communion, preaching, giving announcements, choir, special music, ushering, nursery, children’s work, sound room, worship annex, maintenance, and any other area that will give him needed experience. He will sharpen his knowledge and understanding in each area through careful, supervised participation in each.
Organization – The intern will be given certain tasks and activities which will require him to organize people, places, and things in order to accomplish the assigned task or activity. The intern will gain a greater grasp of ministry insight through his precise organization of these events.
Preparation – The intern will spend time and energy preparing himself for ministry through careful study time, reading specific books and articles, prayer and meditation, journaling, and even listening to messages preached. He will prepare for ministry by writing his ministry prospectus and philosophy, and studying church articles of faith and constitution. He will prepare for preaching times not only through careful study of the Word, but through earnest prayer and communion with the Lord. He will learn to plan and prepare for the worship service through walking through the various stages with the staff.
The calling to ministry is a high and lofty calling and should be viewed with all gravity and sincerity. Thus, the qualifications for internship should indicate the serious nature of the position. Because of the large number who seek internships, the formal internship should be limited to the one who is in the final stages of his seminary work and nearing entering the role of shepherd. Scripture gives us the qualifications (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1) and each intern’s life should clearly demonstrate a blamelessness in each area. As a result of these qualifications, his life should exhibit:
A passionate heart that pursues God – The intern’s heart should pulsate with God’s glory, grace, and goodness. It should be a life that is transparent, honest, humble, all the while pursuing God on purpose for His purposes. He should have a strong understanding of doctrine and demonstrate clear application to life. His life will demonstrate a heart that repels the world, his flesh, and the work of the Accuser, and warmly, openly, and fervently desires to commune with His God. He will take initiative in pursuing fellowship and input into his life for the purpose of sanctification and desire accountability for his life. He should see his need for oversight and show appreciation for it. He will receive correction graciously and gratefully.
A personal life that patterns God – The intern’s life then should give an accurate picture of God in all areas of His life because of His time alone with God. He will work hard and not complain. He will serve without fame and spotlight, he will be kind in the middle of harshness, he will persevere while in the storm, he will exercise discipline when others are apathetic, and he will not shrink from others or avoid tasks because they are unpleasant. He holds onto his position lightly and does not selfishly strive or ambitiously seek self-promotion. The character of his life gives proof that he has spent time with Christ.
A purposed heart that loves people – The intern’s life will revolve around people because of his love for people. He will demonstrate a growing heart for people and a learner’s spirit to serve them effectively. He is approachable, warm, and peaceful. He has good conversational skills and is easy to talk to and understandable. He takes godly initiative towards people. People want to be around him and are naturally drawn to him.
A productive mind that leads well – The intern should exhibit gifts of leadership that enables him to identify, train, and position others in a way that makes them eager to serve. He should be able to prioritize and delegate with clear direction and administrate. He should be a person of great discernment and be pursuing godly wisdom that is from above. He should understand the tension between leading and cultivating a team at the same time.
A formal internship (aka Pastors College—Spurgeon) is perhaps the polish on the brass, and thus final touch to preparation and should be explored as viable tool for a young shepherd. This is an internship that demands a self-starting approach to life and ministry. The Staff of CBC will not hold his hand, but will guide and carefully walk with the intern through ministry as it happens daily. The intern should be flexible, faithful, and diligent to pursue people and circumstances that God puts in his way and minister the grace of the gospel to those God has directed him.
Each intern will be asked to do the following:
Give a weekly calendar and plan for the hours worked so that all will know where he is and when. Work and time schedules should be cleared by a pastor.
Offer a monthly overview of events participated in and time given to each event to the Elders for accountability.
Keep a journal of things learned and take notes of observations made for future reference.
Intentionally investigate all areas of ministry in a way that is self-starting and demonstrates a want-to-learn heart.
Participate in meetings when moved to do so, always remembering the position he is in.
Be prepared to demonstrate flexibility in schedule and keep expectations to a minimum.
Communicate often to the office ladies of his whereabouts so they can communicate with him.
Seek to experience all aspects of ministry. He can’t be afraid to ask if he can participate!
Personally disciple over an extended period of time at least three different people using a formal study or curriculum. The three different people should include:
- One new believer who has just recently come to Christ
- One believer who has an on-going sin issue
- One couple
Read and do the complete study of Biblical Eldership by Alexander Strauch and meet once a week with the pastor for discussion
Read Starting Reproducing Congregations by Sanchez, Smith, and Watke
Read and discuss the following books:
- Surprising Insights from the Unchurched by Rainer
- Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age by Stetzer
- Why Small Groups by Mahanney
- Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by Packer
- Calling by Tillapaugh and Hurst
- Life in the Father’s House by Wayne Mack
- The Deliberate Church by Mark Dever
Attend all staff meetings/elder meetings/deacon meetings
Write out and be prepared to defend his “Statement of Faith”
If planting a church, write out a Constitution and Articles of Faith and submit them for Elder Approval
Prepare for and attend one survey trip to potential area of ministry
Exercise oversight in one area of service (Sunday School, Shepherd Group, Mission Trip, etc.)
Prepare and plan a weekend of worship services with Jerry Maxwell's oversight
CBC will provide:
A workspace and desk in the intern/Sunday School Office
An e-mail address and access to the Internet
Bookshelves for a small number of books
Monies for lunches when discipling/meeting for church business
Office supplies as needed
Accountability through relational living