• Internships

    Posted Apr 11th, 2018 By in Pastor Brian's Blog, Why We Do What We Do With | Comments Off on Internships

    Last week I was out of the pulpit on study leave prepping for our new series on the book of Jonah. The usual details of my vocation—minus preaching—remained. One of those was meeting with a man entering seminary next fall about the particulars of internships and how they prepare ministers-to-be to become ministers.

    I couldn’t help think about that as I made the near 150 mile trek out to Jacumba to pray and consult and encourage one of our former interns who is pastoring a small church out at the ends of the earth and across the street from—literally—the Mexican border.

    And then I started thinking about our former interns. The church planters in El Cajon and North Park and the one in Ireland who finished his Ph.D. and the one pastoring in downtown, bullet ridden Philadelphia, and the missionary in Thailand and the one in Uganda and the one in Israel who publishes Christian literature and pastors a church and the one in Spain who plants churches and teaches at a seminary and the one in Alabama at the Christian school and the one who started and runs a non-profit advocating for orphans in Mexico, and all the other ones I forgot…oh and our own associate pastor. And I thought about our current interns about to finish their theological training in May and who are looking to follow in the footsteps of those who have come before them.

    Then I started thinking about another intern. One that stumbled in the door. Newly married. A friend of a friend. Cocky. Young. Handsome. Ok, I’m taking this a little too far. One who was sure he had it all figured out; all the theological Ts crossed and the Is dotted. Astute in Greek, Hebrew, and a little Latin, German, and Aramaic; studied in theology; but, one who was lacking immensely in ecclesiology and one who didn’t understand the first thing about the corporate worship of God and one who didn’t know the first thing about raising a family and cherishing a wife, one who learned by watching others the beauty and joy of opening one’s home on the Lord’s day, one who learned so much more. I am, of course, speaking autobiographically.

    And then I started thinking: What’s the magic dust here? What’s the glue that holds all these pieces together? How has our little church been able to produce such faithful and fruitful ministers? As much as I wanted to ascend the ladder and mount the roof top and shout to the world: Me! Me! I’m the secret sauce. I can’t.  It simply cannot be. Because—and I don’t recommend you begin a sentence with the word because, unless, well that’s a different article—…because I am a product and products are made; they do not make; they are products and, by definition, products do not produce—usually.

    So if it’s not I, who’s to blame for all this gospel preaching, and church planting mayhem? The only other variable is you. You! You, New Life Presbyterian Church in La Mesa, are making and molding; shaping and structuring the ministers and the culture-makers of the next generation. Boom! One of the beautiful ministries of the corporate church.

    And so I told that young man I spoke about. Internships: Choose wisely the church you will intern at. Like water forms the contours of a rock, so too does a church form a man.

    A many good, gospel men have been formed by your waters. For that we say Thank you.

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    Pastor of New Life La Mesa Presbyterian Church in San Diego, CA.

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