“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” – 2 Timothy 4:1-2
This fall, our Wednesday night Bible Study will begin a study of the Pastoral Epistles – I Timothy, II Timothy, and Titus. These are letters that the apostle Paul wrote to two young pastors, Timothy and Titus, toward the end of his life. The letters provide wonderful teaching for everyone, male and female, young and old, and so I’m excited to dig into these books.
But I’m especially excited because in a few months, Paul’s encouraging words to young pastors will become very practical to our congregation. In January, we are welcoming a Seminary intern into our church family for the entire year. His name is Ryan Patenaude, and this will be an opportunity for us to train and encourage him during his time with us. This will be a new venture for St. Paul’s, and I am thrilled that we are taking on this responsibility and privilege.
One of the important concepts of an internship for a host congregation to understand is the purpose of the internship. Generally speaking, Ryan will be here to learn. Essentially, this is us partnering with the seminary in his education. He will have reading assignments and progress reports to turn into the seminary, but primarily, his education next year will be very practical in nature. He will have the opportunity to observe, up close and personal, a year in the life of the congregation and its pastor.
It’s also important to note what his internship is not intended to be. He will not be here to fill any staffing needs that we may have. Practically speaking, there are areas where my workload will decrease with him here. But there are other areas where it will be more work for me. I’ve spoken with several pastors about it, and they’ve all encouraged me not to expect “less work.” I think it will be helpful for us as we begin to develop our perspective of this venture to see Ryan not so much as an employee (even though we will be paying him), but more as a student.
Having that perspective will help us in many ways, but one way is especially near to my heart. It will help us to be more encouraging to him and his family, and less demanding of them. The best internship churches are the ones who are intentional to encourage, love, and support their interns. They are the congregations who open themselves up to a stranger for a year and foster a safe and supportive environment for him to learn. There will be times when it will be good for us to push and challenge him. It will be important for us to be open and honest with him about our struggles, personally and as a congregation, and it will be important for us to show him the joy and confidence we have personally and as a congregation, because of the Gospel.
Like I said, I’m excited for this opportunity for us! I’m excited for him to learn from us. This congregation is uniquely gifted to serve the Lord in this way, and I believe that Ryan and his family will be blessed by their time here. I also believe they will be a blessing to us, and so I’m excited for that too! In the next few months, I’ll be using these newsletter articles to prepare us more for what is to come, particularly regarding his duties and expectations, and I’ll also share some specific ideas about how we can best encourage him. In the meantime, continue to pray for Ryan and his wife Stephanie, and their children Thor, Solomon, Iris, Louisa, and Felicity. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
Serving the Lord with you,