The ministry of Jesus Christ in the world thru the church requires that we mature spiritually and emotionally, along with gaining various skills and learning to use our unique gifts. All followers of Jesus are called, by their profession of faith and baptism, into this ministry of Jesus. Paul paints a wonderful image in Ephesians 4:11-16:
11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
The suggestion here is that this maturing is intentional and systematic, and guided by the Holy Spirit. The church then is tasked with putting these particular equipping gifts to use – thus the Ministry Internship Program.
The Ministry Internship Program borrows greatly from several other models, including Supervised Ministry at Brite Divinity School, Clinical Pastoral Education, and the Pastoral Residency Program at Wilshire Baptist Church and Central Christian Church. Any deficiencies in the program are entirely our responsibility. The intention of the program is to provide men and women an opportunity to explore a call to ministry in a safe and nurturing environment. Interns are given opportunity to both practice ministry in various areas of congregational and community life, and then to reflect on that practice of ministry with a group of peers and a supervising pastor. A third component is the Intern Support Committee, a group of lay members who journey with the Intern during their time in ministry at the particular setting. A primary goal is for the Interns to learn the arts of Spiritual Formation and Theological Reflection within the context of congregational ministry, in the hope of forming lifelong patterns of wholeness for the church’s life.
We believe that all followers of Christ may enter into this journey of maturing faith and ministry. The Interns have an opportunity to do so in a focused and public way, also serving as a visible witness to the congregation and community of this commitment to lifelong spiritual growth.