It’s hard to believe that we are one fast holiday month away from the arrival of our intern! We are currently going through the application process on a rental house in Moorhead for the Patenaudes. Later in December, there will be a cleaning day organized. The house is in good shape, but there are some things we can do to make it even nicer for the Patenaudes before they arrive. They will be moving here sometime during the last week of December, and so we will be looking for volunteers to help them unload the moving truck at that time. Some of our council members are planning to travel to Minneapolis to help them with the move.
Ryan’s first day at St. Paul’s will be January 2nd. His office will be located in the room across the hall from the main office. Feel free to stop by that first week and introduce yourself! We will formally introduce him to the congregation on Sunday, January 7. He will do his best to remember your names, but I would encourage you to heed Pastor Amiot’s advice from last month’s article, be intentional about introducing yourself multiple times. There are a lot of us for him to remember!
The theme I had planned for this article was regarding how we can encourage him and his family. As we have been preparing for this new venture in our congregation, my mind and heart keep coming back to the idea that we are investing in the future of a pastor who will serve congregations for years to come. This is an important year in Ryan’s life for his future as a pastor. It’s an enormous privilege that God has given us to have a part in his training! This is training that will benefit him and the congregations he serves in the future. Let’s take that as an admonition to do the best we can in the task God has given us!
First of all, love Ryan and his family with the love of Christ. Welcome them, serve them, spend time with them, be patient with them, be intentional about helping them to know that they are a part of this church family. Second, be honest with Ryan. If you see something that he could improve on, graciously tell him that! He wants and needs feedback, and in love, he will know that you are only saying it because you care about his growth as a pastor. That is a necessary function of supervising congregations, and it’s part of our joint desire to strive for excellence. And then be honest with him when he does something well. Encourage him in that, so that he can grow in confidence in the Lord.
That leads to my final thought. I appreciated Pastor Amiot’s analogy last month of the seminary internship putting meat on the bones of three years of classroom education. Our job is to help him build some “muscle,” so let’s give him some exercise, let’s put him to work! Include him in various activities as would be appropriate and reasonable for a pastor. Involve Ryan in emails and conversations as we do the work of the church. Push him, challenge him, and stretch him! That will help him to grow and to put to practice what he has learned, and that’s how we can build him up in the Lord.
As always, please ask if you have any questions. If you would like to re-read the series of articles this fall regarding the internship, I will be posting them on our church’s website at stpaulsfreelutheran.org. Under the “Sermons” tab at the top, there is a place for articles, so you can look there.
I pray each of our families have a blessed Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ!