This summer has been an interesting one to say the least. I got a call from my youth pastor towards the end of my Spring semester to see if I would be interested in doing a Summer internship under him. I accepted that offer happily, excited to serve the youth group that I was a part of throughout high school. A month into that internship, my youth pastor was called to another church that was nearly nine hours away! Of course, I was bummed, but I was looking forward to what God was going to do both in his life at his new church and at the church I had been serving. I’m glad that I stuck it out and stayed with it because I have learned many things over the Summer. Here’s some reasons why I think this internship was worth it.
First off, I was challenged in many ways. Not only was I forced to talk to people and do things that I wasn’t used to under my youth pastor’s guidance, but that intensified when he left! I was learning how to schedule events, talk to people in the church office, find people to speak on Wednesday nights, leading a girl’s Bible study, and being the contact person for the youth group. Yes, that might sound either completely overwhelming or like a walk in the park depending on who you are, but for me it was all a challenge. But, it was a challenge in the best way possible. I learned to speak up and actually ask for things, how to communicate with other in ministry, how to communicate with students, and how to continue to spiritually feed myself while serving. I had never had to think of those things before now.
Second, I learned what it meant to be a leader. I guess this kind of goes with my first point, but I want to be specific here and say I learned how to lead the girls younger than me concerning their relationship with Christ. I got to meet up with a handful of girls throughout the summer at a coffee shop and just talk and listen to their story. I was able to challenge them in some ways (I hope) and teach them truths from Scripture. The most valuable thing I learned about being a leader is that you learn as much as you teach. I had to research to find answers to questions and I learned a lot from the girls themselves. While leading the Bible study, I learned that it was okay to say that I didn’t have an answer. Sometimes one of the other girls would have an answer, but other times we would have to find the answer together.
The third and last thing I want to mention is the way it made me grow spiritually. While learning how to be a good intern and how to lead, I had to remember to take time for myself. I wasn’t in the actual office a lot or going out on coffee dates every day, but I found myself wanting to do nothing but veg out on the couch when I was home. I wasn’t taking time to talk to God and grow myself. It took a lot of courage, but I ended up asking my sister-in-law to disciple me and keep me accountable. I started getting a spiritual check-up from her once a week. This hasn’t been going on long but knowing that I’m going to have someone ask me how I’m reallydoing has pushed me to strive harder. That may sound temperamental and weak, but when you’re a people pleaser like I am that tactic works. And I’ve already noticed a difference. It has made me desire to spend time with God more because of the truths I read and pray through, not because someone is telling me to spend time with God. I don’t think I would’ve been able to catch myself though if I wasn’t surrounded by a church body that was supporting me during this internship. I am beyond grateful for this experience.
If anyone reads this and can’t decide if they want to dive into an internship or something similar because it’s going to be challenging and make them a bit uncomfortable, I want to say that it is worth it. God has done so much in my life in one Summer and has really blessed me with this opportunity. I eagerly look forward to what God has in store for my future and for the futures of the youth and church I got the chance to serve.