When Nate and Megan came to me last year and asked what the possibilities would be of working with Impact Campus Ministries as interns on the Moscow/Pullman team, I didn't realize how unprepared I was for that question.
Of course, at meetings amongst the team, we had discussed the possibilities of interns and how great it would be. We had even mentioned Nate and Megan's name as potential recruits for such a task, but had determined to wait on God and His leading before we pursued those conversations. What an answer to prayer as they came and approached us about the very thing we had discussed behind closed doors.
And yet, we didn't have any idea what God would do with what He had laid before us.
As leaders, we had talked about internships purely from an idealistic standpoint (not that we were naive, but we were being pragmatic). We talked about the things it would add to the team and the things that God would do throughout the organization as each team grew, expanded and recruited interns -- and how that would blossom into future laborers in the world of campus ministry. We chatted about how good it would be for those interns to have an experience in vocational ministry and the opportunity to get their "feet wet". We acknowledged how great it would be to get them a jump start on support raising. We imagined all the ways that God would move in their lives and the things that they would learn and the way that they would grow.
In so many ways, campus ministry internships would be the next great frontier in their lives.
Why didn't I realize that it would be the next great frontier of our own lives and ministries?
I won't presume to speak for Eric, but I know that I have been profoundly challenged as a minister and a leader by the presence of these two young adults. They being life -- real life -- into the picture every day. They have big questions; they have questions I wasn't prepared for. I was ready to field the questions about ministry and how I do my job. I was prepared for the questions about theology and spiritual formation.
But I wasn't prepared for how those questions would shape a couple of individuals that are designed and crafted by the great Storyteller for roles in His great story. I wasn't prepared to watch the emotions, the thrills, the ideas, the creativity and the doubts all come together into this glorious mess of growth and how it intertwines with all of the questions I WAS expecting.
The questions about theology that come wrapped in emotion.
The questions about how to do vocational campus ministry that are drenched in doubt.
The questions about the possibilities that are draped in creativity.
I wasn't prepared for the complexity and weight of what we would do every day that we showed up to work.
And I wasn't prepared for the sudden realization that I what did every day had intense implications for the life of a new colleague in the field of ministry -- this heavy awareness of the gravity of what we do.
And you know... I'm glad I wasn't prepared.
This first month on the job for these interns has challenged me in ways I haven't been challenged in a long, long time. I'll be a much better leader in 12 months than I am today. And I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful to God for leading us into this opportunity and I'm grateful for these two interns that had the audacity to want to leap into the unknown -- with us.
And I'm incredibly grateful for the grace that they both give me every day as I struggle to figure out how to lead them well. I don't think I'm hiding my insecurity well anymore; I'm pretty sure they're on to me. There are some places that I have no idea what I'm doing. They are incredibly gracious in those areas, which makes me glad to march into the unknown with them.
And I think I wouldn't be too presumptuous to suggest that all the things we expected to happen are true as well. I think this will be an incredible year for Nate and Megan. I think that they too will be better because of the time they spend on our team. I think it will be a great training ground for vocational ministry and support raising. And I know for a fact that our team is better because of their presence. Their perspective as recent graduates is priceless. They're relational spunk and giftedness is an asset to each event they are involved in. They bring skills and talents to the table that our team just did not possess before.
So, all in all, I would highly recommend internships. I would recommend them for your ministry and your team. I would recommend them for anybody wondering if they might be called into the world of vocational ministry. But I would also invite everyone in the process to be ready for the things that God will do through the experience.
May we continue to be open to the things that God wants to teach us; may we be humble enough to realize how much potential there is to be unearthed.