Where did you pursue your internship (location/church)?
I served a ten week internship at Grace United Reformed Church in Kennewick, WA.
What were your primary responsibilities (preaching, teaching, counseling, etc.)?
My primary responsibilities were exhorting in both the morning and evening services each week. Thus, most of my week was spent in sermon preparation. However, I did engage in other tasks such as counseling observations, teaching Sunday school and various church events.
How has your WSC education prepared you for the internship?
My education at WSC has given me the tools needed to accurately exegete a passage of Scripture and craft a sermon that is edifying to the people of God. I have noticed that all of the classes I have had at WSC come together and are of use in the preparation of a sermon. This summer made me thankful that the education I am receiving is from a seminary that teaches from a distinctly confessional perspective and emphasizes that all of Scripture is about Christ. Having such a unified perspective in the classroom helps as I seek to prepare sermons that point people to Christ.
What did you learn from this internship that seminary couldn’t teach you?
I was able to get a better idea of what the shepherding ministry looks like as I sat in consistory meetings where the elders were dealing with various disciplinary cases. I also learned the value of asking questions as a general principle in pastoral ministry. The pastor I interned under said that when people come to pastors for guidance they oftentimes like to be “Pez dispensers,” that is, they like to immediately give an answer without really getting to know the person’s situation. Having patience and taking the time to ask questions makes the other person feel heard and loved and usually leads to a better response on the part of the pastor.
What would you say to future seminarians participating in internships?
I would encourage them to take advantage of the time they have with their supervising pastor. Ask him questions about pastoral ministry from his perspective and experience. I would also encourage them to be teachable and humble and use the internship as an opportunity to learn and grow. Don’t be afraid of messing up. Furthermore, do as many things as you are able to do. Getting as much exposure to various aspects of ministry is beneficial.