What are the opportunities for learning in each internship setting?
In post-Katrina New Orleans and post-Ike Houston, interns discovered how to take immediate action to meet urgent needs while rebuilding and engaging in cooperative urban ministries for the long haul. In a fast-growing suburb of San Antonio, an intern learned the challenges in planting a new church; and in inner-city Buffalo, an intern worked to reinvigorate the mission of a very old one.
An intern in a cross-racial internship offered leadership to a willing congregation as it struggled to become more open to cultural and racial diversity. A student doing internship in a large faith-based non-profit serving the poor and homeless in Dallas learned how to address the root causes of poverty while actively working to relieve the misery it breeds.
An intern in a small rural church discovered the rhythm of doing ministry in an agrarian community and the pressing need for the church to lead the way in serving the underserved. An intern in a large suburban church learned how to work as part of a team in a multi-clergy church while at the same time discovering her own leadership style as she developed a major community outreach ministry.
An intern in an agency serving at-risk young people in the foster-care system developed skills not only in working with this group but also in advocating on their behalf for institutional change, encouraging congregations to become aware of this "invisible population." And the fallout from the recent recession spurred interns in every type of community to seek creative responses to the needs of persons newly or chronically unemployed and without health care.
All the while, in every setting, the students gained invaluable experience in preaching, teaching, administration, pastoral care, and other essential areas of ministry while receiving structured feedback from the other members of the internship team.
Learning, listening, and leading go both ways as the intern and the faith community at the internship site grow together in ministry.