4 Reasons Your Church Needs More Interns

Posted by Aaron Buer on January 27, 2022

In this post, I’m going to attempt to convince you that you should have a robust internship program.

Why?  Because internship programs have been a huge win in my church and I think they could really help you out.  

First off, what are we talking about here?  For us, this is a 1 or 2 year paid position.  It is part-time, although it could be full-time.  It is a role in which a person will receive high-level training and mentoring while filling a needed role for us. 

Each intern has a staff supervisor and a specific job description.  We have interns in our pastoral, student, kids, worship, and production ministries.  Usually, our internships are college or seminary students, although not always.  

An example in our church of a robust internship is our production interns.  We have one intern at every campus and they are essentially in charge of production at our student ministry events. 

These events happen twice a week, involve hundreds of students and volunteers.  The interns are gaining valuable experience while fulfilling a needed role for us.  Our student ministry events often put our regular production staff over capacity.  

These production interns receive valuable training and experience.  They become proficient in a variety of technical skills and the internship experience looks good on their resume.  Not a bad gig.  

So, now that you know what I mean by a robust internship program.  Let me give you four reasons why you need one.  

Staffing Pipeline

Have you tried to hire anyone recently?  Not easy.

One of the things I love about our internship program is that it is a staffing pipeline.  Any time we have an open position, we start with our own staff, interns, and volunteers.  We have made several recent hires from our internship program.  

A robust internship program is a great staffing pipeline because over the course of a year or two long internship, you can clearly see whether a person possesses the skills required for a job and whether they are a good cultural fit for your church.  

Sustainable Work Rhythms

A second reason a strong internship program will help your church is that if you build it well, you can create more sustainable work rhythms for your permanent staff. 

Our production interns are a good example of this.  By leading production at our student ministry events, our interns not only gain valuable experience, but they create a margin for our permanent production staff.  

Investing In The Big “C” Church

Another reason I love internships is that they’re an opportunity for your church to invest in the big “C” church. 

In other words, if your interns gain valuable mentoring and experience through their internship with your church, even if they don’t end up as a staff member, they will go on to bless another church.  

A robust internship program is an opportunity for your church to invest in a bunch of other churches in your region or across the country.  


Leadership Opportunities For Your Staff

As you’re reading this, you might be thinking, who is going to run this internship program?  I don’t have time for that. 

Yeah, neither do I.  But, there’s a good chance that someone on your staff does and is hungry for a leadership opportunity. 

A few years ago, we launched an internship program in our student ministry.  We invited a staff member who was not currently a manager to oversee the program.  That was three years ago.  That experience grew her leadership and management skills and now she is a key leader in our student ministry department.  

Overseeing one or more interns can provide valuable management experience without requiring a permanent promotion or pay increase.  It is a great testing ground for management.  


Wrap Up 

Investing in a good internship program has led to great things in our church and I think it will in yours as well.  We’d love to hear your thoughts on building a successful internship program.  

Lastly, you can find helpful tips on developing a plan when church staff and volunteers decide to transition out of their position, here.

Topics: Advice

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