Because life is a series of edits

Welcome, Interns (Part 1)

In Church, Education, Seminary on October 31, 2009 at 8:16 pm

I'm working on a couple different papers this weekend for my Educational Leadership class. Below is the first page (really just the intro) to a 5-7 page essay addressing the following question:

First Presbyterian Church hires fifteen interns every summer. The supervising pastor heard that you have taken this class and asks you to speak to the interns for about 15-20 minutes. These interns will be working with existing groups in the church and will be responsible to plan and prepare programs (with or for them). You will tell them, in your own words, what major concerns they need to attend to as they develop and implement ministry through these programs. In giving this advice, feel free to illustrate your points using examples from your own experience, stories you have heard in class, or to cite publications (though it is not necessary for you to do so). This “talk” should be about 5-7 pages and will be evaluated on the basis that its’ points are clearly stated and explained, and are internally consistent with each other.

Congratulations on your internship this summer at First Presbyterian! I know you’re excited to be here, and you should be – this is a great place and you’re going to have a great summer.

As I’ve been asked to speak to help prepare you as an intern, I feel the need to more clearly define the term. According to my dictionary, an “intern” is “a student or trainee who works, sometimes without pay, at a trade or occupation in order to gain work experience.” Sounds noble and something to aspire to, right? Maybe, but let me suggest you broaden your definition; I offer this as an add-on: “one after the other” (“in turn,” get it?).

You see, the good news is you’re one of fifteen interns chosen to minister here at First Presbyterian for the summer; the other news is there were fifteen different interns sitting where you’re sitting last summer and, Lord willing, there will be fifteen different interns sitting where you’re sitting next summer. In other words, you – and they – are, were, and will be part of an established system here at First Presbyterian – one that has been here before you and, God willing, will be here after you as well. Having this perspective is very important as you consider your place and time in the here and now because, as you probably noticed, I didn’t say First Presbyterian is, was, or will be a perfect system; actually, it’s a fairly flawed one.

It’s flawed because it’s made up of flawed people. If you don’t believe this, then you’re about to find out. You’re about to find out that those to whom you look for leadership can be distracted and demanding. You’re about to find out that those who will look to you for leadership can be impatient and selfish. You’re about to find out that those with whom you labor can be prideful and competitive.

Oh, and you’re about to find out that you can be all of the above…and more.

The other thing you’re about to find out is that all of these flaws (and more) have unfortunately made their way into parts of the First Presbyterian system. People you’ve never met (nor will) are responsible for problems you’ll encounter this summer, and the sooner you recognize that these problems don’t begin or end with you, the more you’ll be able to help First Presbyterian and those who comprise it now (as well as in the future).

With all this in mind, could I offer a few words of counsel as you begin your internship? I don’t offer these as “Truth,” but I do think there’s truth in them. Ten thoughts:

(To be continued as soon as I write it; meanwhile, feel free to add your words of wisdom.)

  1. I have no words of wisdom, Craig, but I would think an instructor would find your approach to this paper very refreshing. In my years of teaching, I was delighted to happen upon an assignment as well written as this. I’d like to read the rest of it! It makes your English teacher mom very proud!
    BTW, we really enjoyed spending the day today with you guys.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Char. You taught me everything I know when it comes to English. Good time on Saturday with you and Dad. Thanks for dinner and the visit.

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