We are wrapping up our inaugural intern cohort at First Baptist. It has been a privilege this year to lead our cohort of five interns as they have grown together and done excellent work on behalf of our congregation. We set out to hire a cohort last spring and we were not sure what we would get. When you begin a process to hire five interns, you never know who might apply. We were fortunate to not only have five great individual interns, but they were a great team together as well. As I was talking with my wife last week, I mentioned to her that the intern cohort has been one of my highlights of ministry this past year.
Over the year, we have sought to invest in our intern cohort. Interns can sometimes be seen as only cheap labor, but that is a serious disservice to what an internship should be. Someone asked me about leading a cohort of interns and what I have learned, I told them that unless you are prepared to invest in people, don't hire interns. The jokes are too common - interns are seen as cheap labor. This is absolutely not the case. Our cohort has done excellent work together this year, and they have served our congregation well. This requires a serious investment on the part of a congregation - one we were happy to make.
There are many reasons to hire interns. The list could grow quite long, but here are three reasons we hire interns at First.
We want to Develop Leaders
We want to develop leaders. Plain and simple. We are working to create a culture at First Baptist that recognizes growth and multiplication as Biblical values which must necessarily be expressed in our congregation. We want to help people grow, whether it is in the area of spiritual disciplines, care for others or leadership skills. An essential part of growing as a disciple of Jesus is multiplying ourselves into others. Paul exhorts Timothy, "What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Tim 2:2)."
As our congregation makes a commitment to invest resources into developing leaders through our intern cohort, we also communicate a commitment to growing leaders all over our church. As we seek to make growth and multiplication part of the culture at First, our investment into a cohort of interns moves us in the right direction. One of the reasons we hire interns at First is because we value leadership development and our intern cohort is a natural result of that value.
We want to Prioritize The Kingdom
We want our church to prioritize God's Kingdom over our own kingdom. Churches are unfortunately prone to be territorial and only care about their own agenda. We want to fight against that tendency in every way we can. When we hire a cohort of interns, we prioritize The Kingdom. On day one, we tell each of our interns that we want them to invest fully into our church throughout the year of their internship. Once the year is over, we do not place any expectation that they remain a part of our church. We want to release them for Kingdom work, whether that is in another church or another city.
As this cohort year ends, multiple of our interns have expressed a desire to remain a part of our congregation. We do hope this is the case, because it is a sign that these young leaders are excited to continue investing in our church. Whether they remain for just their internship or a few years after, it is likely they will move away at some point, and our prayer is that the investment we made is multiplied ten, twenty or even a hundred fold for God's Kingdom. We hire interns at First, because we want to prioritize The Kingdom.
We want to Do Excellent Work Together
We hire interns at First, because we want to do excellent work together. It is our intention to provide an environment that facilitates growth in each of our interns, and along the way, it is our expectation that we will do excellent work together on behalf of our congregation. I am not interested in having our cohort simply execute menial tasks in a mediocre fashion. As I work with our cohort, we want to complete meaningful work on behalf of our church, for the good of God's Kingdom, the glory of God's name and the joy of all peoples, and we want to do it in excellent ways.
It would be impossible for me to outline all the excellent work our cohort has done this year. They have supported our partnerships with our 26 missionaries, they have provided necessary leadership for our youth ministry, they have led retreats, they have led worship, they have invested in congregation members, they have served the needs of our downtown community, they have supported one another, they have prayed for one another, they have loved our church and they have done excellent work together. We hire interns because we want to do excellent work together.
We are hiring another cohort
Based on our experience with our inaugural intern cohort, we are hiring another cohort of interns for next year. We will continue to improve our program, so we can continue to grow leaders and do excellent work together. If you or someone you know might be interested in being part of our cohort, please consider applying for one of our six intern positions. Our application deadline is June 11th. Contact me with questions.