Posted on 6/4/2012 by Wayne Smith in the Learnings Blog
The question of "How do we raise up the next generation of Church/Kingdom leadership?' is part of the ongoing Leadership Development issue that most, if not all, churches are at least thinking about. Just a few weeks ago, Leadership Network hosted an InnovationLab on Internships that helped the participating churches begin to address this question. Richwoods Christian, The Oaks Fellowship, The Village Church and WoodsEdge Community Church came eager to learn from one another and contribute to this key ministry topic.
These participating churches reflected an increasingly wide-spread awareness of the need to fill the Leadership Development pipeline and to do it with their own DNA in mind and intact. There were multiple models and levels of Internship programs presented, some which were well-formed and developed, and others which were in the embryonic stage. Models ranged from a full blown partnership between a church and a four year university to one year internships for people of all ages focused on one specific ministry area. Some of the churches paid their interns, others asked the interns to pay for the experience. Some of the models reflected a desire on the part of the church to invest specifically in interns who knew that they had a "call from God" to be in vocational ministry, others reflected a "come test the ministry waters" via a short but deep dive into church work. Multiple models, great conversations, and some remarkable plans from each church to accomplish over the next 6 months until we reconvene for the online check-in meeting.
Some of the six month goals set by these church teams are:
- Develop a Donor Funding System
- Finalize Leadership Development Strategy Material and Field Guide
- Cast a Clear & Compelling Vision for Staff, Interns and Funders
- Redesign Basic Plan for Intern Development
While the models were all different, there were many things that all of the churches agreed on. All agreed that relationships were more important than curriculum, knowing what Outcomes they are trying to accomplish, teach the 'why's', not just the hows of ministry, educate their current staff about training responsibilities and expectations and have a good final assessment process. One of the BIG Aha agreements reflects a shift that goes beyond these four individual churches to the broader church at large. And that is a shift from viewing Interns as "free, or low-cost workers" doing ministry grunt work to asking the question, "how can we expand the Kingdom both in and through our interns?" and therefore seeing interns as key future Kingdom leaders This idea was captured well in a quote from Reggie McNeal, one of our presenters, when he said,
"God did not make people to get work done, God made work to get people done."
What about you? Does your church have an internship program? What kind of model and what kind of outcomes are important for you? And what about the last statement? Does it resonate with you and your team?
Want to have further conversation about this? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org