Last month, I began a series of articles to help us prepare for the Seminary intern that we will be hosting in 2018. One of the most common questions so far in this process has been something to the effect of: What will the intern be doing while he is with us?
The simplest and most general answer to that question is this: Ryan will be doing what I do. If there is a job that we expect the pastor to do, we want our intern to gain experience doing that job. Remember that it is most helpful to see Ryan as a student, and we are his teachers. And we want him to gain experience in a wide variety of settings. That will best prepare him for ministry as a pastor, which is a profession that requires flexibility and confidence in different age groups, cultural environments, and so on.
Specifically, these are some of the areas that his time will be focused on:
- The primary work of a pastor is the preaching of God’s Word. Schedules and seasons will vary the amount that Ryan preaches, but you can expect him to preach at least once per month, and during busy seasons, up to two or three times per month.
- Visitation is an important part of pastoral ministry, and so Ryan will be making visits to our shut-ins and other members. Initially, he will come with me on many of my visits, but eventually, he will be making those on his own. Feel free to invite him for a visit! I would encourage those of you with families to invite him and his family for a visit too.
- Ryan will do a fair amount of teaching. Tentatively, the plan is for him to teach Bible Study shortly after he arrives. Later in the spring, he will teach adult Sunday School, and confirmation will be on his list of duties next fall.
- It will be important for us to provide opportunities for Ryan to observe how our committees work. He will be included on emails and invited to meetings throughout the year.
- When it comes to the work of a pastor in counseling, this gets a little bit tricky for an intern. You are certainly welcome to seek his counsel or advice on different things, and it will be good for him to get that kind of experience. However, keep in mind that he is only going to be with us for one year, and it is healthiest for the congregation when the bulk of the counseling work is done by the called pastor. There may be times that I will ask people for permission to let Ryan observe the counseling work that I am doing, but confidentiality and individual comfort levels will take a priority over any desire to give our intern “extra experience.”
- Another area of ministry that is sometimes hard to fit an intern into is special services like baptisms, weddings, and funerals. Ryan’s involvement in those activities will be determined on a case by case basis, with a desire to give him experience while honoring the desires of each family involved.
- Ryan will also have several assignments that need to be completed for the Seminary during his time here.
This is by no means an exhaustive or final list. But I hope it gives you some idea of what Ryan’s work will look like. The goal will generally be a 40-hour work week, he will have a specified day off each week, and a limited amount of vacation.
Again, please feel free to ask any questions you may have. Remember to keep the Patenaude family in your prayers as they prepare to join us in a few months!
Your Partner in the Gospel,