USING AN INTERN IN A CHURCH PLANT

The biblical example is for local churches to reproduce local churches. This example is for both an established local church and for a local church in the process of being established. A church plant should focus on reproducing herself as she focuses on establishing herself. One method of doing so is through using an intern. Below you will find some helpful thoughts on this subject.
 
1. Who is a candidate to be an intern?
  • The biblical requirements set by God for pastoring a church should be upheld when seeking an intern. Often, a church planting pastor will welcome any help. However, no help is worse than unbiblical or bad help.
  • The intern should be someone who walks with God. Church planting is the front-line work of God. He will be tested repeatedly.
  • The intern should be someone who senses God’s call to be a church planter.
  • The intern and his wife must demonstrate a strong, determined work ethic. Their faithfulness will be tested. Their energy will be stretched.

 

2. How to choose an intern?
 
  • Primarily seek the Lord and His peace. Take your time and do not be in a hurry. Pray and fast.
  • The intern and his wife should visit the work for at least ten days (more if possible). During that time the church planting pastor must realistically show the intern what to expect in the ministry he will be joining. This survey time will aid in preventing an intern arriving and leaving within a year which hurts families in the church in the process.
  • The church planting pastor must be upfront and honest with the intern. Will the church plant pay the intern? Will the intern need to work a secular job? What responsibilities will the intern carry?
  • Ensure that the intern’s wife and children are on board with the position. If the wife and children are not in agreement, the intern will struggle immensely and ultimately fade away.
 
3. Practical advice in using an intern.
 
  • The church planting pastor should create a contract for the intern. The contract should clearly state all responsibilities, state the amount of salary (if applicable), and a designated extent of time of service with the church planting pastor before the intern leaves the current ministry or begins deputation to plant another local church. The contract should also include a statement regarding the willingness of the intern to follow the church planting pastor’s direction in the timing of reproducing a future church plant.
  • The church planting pastor should be sensitive to the intern’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs If the intern is part-time in the ministry and having to work a secular job, the tendency is to treat the intern as a full-time staff member with high expectations within the ministry; however, this can prove to be overwhelming and be discouraging to the intern and his family.
  • The church planting pastor should meet regularly with the intern to promote growth in the intern through prayer, Bible study, and book studies. Another benefit of meeting regularly is to ensure that the intern is completing his responsibilities.
  • The church planting pastor must constantly check up on the intern. They will be prone to wonder. They will not carry the same burden the church planting pastor carries for the people of the church plant. Realize this fact and help the intern to see the importance of the decisions he makes.
 
4. Struggles in using an intern.
 
  • The strain of the intern working a full-time or part-time job along with the ministry will become a struggle. The intern will grow weary. Dealing with those issues can be difficult.
  • The responsibility of administrating a staff member can be exhausting, especially for a church planting pastor in a young work.
  • The church planting pastor always runs the risk of being hurt by his “Timothy” in a variety of ways such as: abandoning the work, hurting church members through poor decisions, and planting a new work with a different philosophy of ministry.
 
5. Advantages of using an intern.
 
  • The fellowship an intern can provide for a church planting pastor and wife can be refreshing.
  • The man-power in the church plant will be welcomed and become extremely useful.
  • As the intern speaks of his future church plant and as the church planting pastor references the ultimate purpose of the intern, church planting is regularly in the minds of the local church. This focus will launch the church plant into reproducing itself naturally.