5 Reasons To Take A Church Internship
Internships and residencies are becoming very commonplace in ministry, and just like in the corporate world, they offer many lasting benefits. Some internships are unpaid and others only offer a small stipend, but they all offer valuable experience that could aid in your job search.
If you're currently looking for work in a ministry field and coming up short, it might be time to consider an internship position with a church. Below are 5 reasons to take a quality church internship over the first paid vocational ministry role you can find.
1. You can determine if full-time vocational ministry is for you.
Church internships are one of the best ways to determine if full-time ministry is for you.
Doing anything as a full-time vocation is a lot different than doing it as a hobby. Just because you have been enjoying serving as a dedicated volunteer in the student ministry does not mean you would still love it if you were doing it full-time. We are all called to serve; however, full-time vocational ministry is certainly not for everyone. An internship is a great way to see if you are on the right track.
2. You will explore the variety of ministry roles at a church.
A lot of internships offer you a chance to rotate through serving in different areas of ministry, which is a great way to find out the areas you connect with. Maybe you never knew that connections was where you were meant to serve, or that running production gets you really excited! If nothing else, it helps reaffirm your call to a specific area and gives you an appreciation for other areas of ministry.
3. You will gain valuable experience that you might not get in a classroom.
Just like in the corporate world, internships give you access to hands-on experience working alongside people who have been doing it for years. When you are looking for a job, nothing translates better to experience than experience. Gaining that experience through an internship is a great starting point. Working with leaders who know what has been proven to work for them in their context and what might not work is a great learning experience!
4. It looks great on a resume.
A lot of people take internships with the hope it will turn into a full-time job. However, in some cases, it simply doesn't. The benefit of internship programs is that it is perfectly acceptable to move on without a full-time position. If someone down the road is evaluating your resume and comes across your internship, they will see experience, not a lack of a full-time offer.
Internships are almost always seen as a positive and rarely a negative. A 3-6 month internship is a great addition to your resume becuase a short stint is expected within that context.
5. You get the opportunity to serve in a large context without previous experience.
It is really hard to land your first ministry position out of school at a large church without prior experience. Taking an internship at a large church is a great way to get your foot in the door and prove yourself. This can lead to transitioning into a full-time role if you make a great impression to your leadership. It’s not a guarantee, but data from many studies has shown that anywhere from 40-60% of internships end with an offer being made for full-time employment.
Internships are not the only way to start your track into vocational ministry, but they should certainly be strongly considered as an option.
Did you do an internship before going into vocational ministry? If you did how was that experience and would you recommend it to others?