April 4, 2013
What's Next: Should We Use Interns and Residents?
Intern programs meet current church needs--and build for the future.
Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of guest posts from Dave Travis' book, What's Next?:2012 Edition. The first post addressed church finances and the second post addressed financial accountability. Travis is CEO of Leadership Network.
Where will all the staff come from in the future? Most likely a combination of places, as always. But one of the key development arenas will be structured intern and residency programs, targeting younger generations who come forward to ask for practical training.
This trend mirrors what is going on in other corporations. Not-for-profits and other institutons are mobilizing interns for a variety of tasks. Additionally, a growing number of high schools are requiring low level experiences that are often called internships.
The internship has somewhat replaced the part-time job as a combination resume builder and experience base to pad school entrance and corporate job applications.
Churches have had internships for some years. What's new is seeing them as strategic for development of new staff and Kingdom workers for other contexts. We've seen the same development with "pastoral residents programs," that act as finishing schools with longer time commitments and stipends.
Our larger, innovative clients are upgrading these programs so that they do more for both parties. Otherwise they'd struggle to compete for the highest level of talents among interns and normal staff. Full-time team members become acclimated to strong intern programs, finding their own productivity increasing--not to mention the rewards of the hand-up to the next generation of Kingdom workers.
It doesn't always go according to script, of course. Either side can have a poor experience. Intern programs need to be carefully organized, closely monitored.
Leadership development remains a critical issue. Our clients are excited about developing a range of customized leadership development programs at all levels, knowing they're offering a gift to the future of ministry.