The Value of Internship

Over a decade ago I had the pleasure and privilege of being on internship. Internship proved to be a pivotal time in which I figured out – with God’s help and the help of my supervising pastor – what pastoral ministry was about. You learn much in seminary about the ministry but there’s nothing like having boots on the ground. To borrow an image C.S Lewis used about theology in Mere Christianity, seminary provides us a map of the ministry. Internship has us visit that map with someone, often times but not always, taking a vicar/intern pastor by the hand, as Virgil did for Dante in Inferno or as Beatrice does for Dante in Paradiso. It is always our hope and prayer, of course, that for a vicar/intern pastor, their time spent on internship is more of a paradiso than an inferno!

As I reflect back on my time on internship, there are two big lessons learned that proved beneficial for the last 11 ½ years or so of my ordained ministry. No doubt, other seasoned pastors could add more. For the sake of brevity I’ll keep it to two.

1) The importance of having a place to learn and grow knowing the Lord’s gracious people would bear that burden joyfully. I can only imagine what my first sermons were like. God bless that congregation in St. Paul that endured my meager offerings of the Word. It also is a blessing, perhaps, knowing vicars/intern pastors move on after they have “cut their teeth”! Regardless, when others know you’re a “rookie” in the ministry they cut you a bit of slack. Parish ministry will be the same, at least for the first few years of a call!

2) The importance of having a mentor walk through various ministry challenges: How do I lead a Bible study? What do I say at the funeral home? How do I respond to a confirmation student who says they don’t believe in Jesus? Why does this congregation worship the way it does? Do I approach someone who needs pastoral counsel or do I let them come to me? Questions like this, “casuistry” as the old Lutherans would call it, are essential to ask. It’s a good thing to have other faithful shepherds after ordination as well. The questions never go away.

I write this to point out the obvious: Internship is crucial for pastoral growth. Though there is no “one size, fits all” model of internship, internship itself is very valuable. At Lutheran CORE we seek to connect congregations in many ways – one of our goals as a NETWORK. At Lutheran CORE, we also are invested in the next generation of pastors for Christ’s Church. So, if you are a pastor, would you be willing to be an internship supervisor? Perhaps we can connect you to someone. If you are a congregational leader, would you consider your congregation a safe place to learn and grow for a fledgling pastor? If so, perhaps we can connect you to a gifted candidate. If you are interested in the ministry, have had some seminary training, and are looking for what the next step is but aren’t sure where to go, perhaps Lutheran CORE can help too.

We recognize that various church bodies already have existing structures to meet this need so this might only apply to LCMC pastors, churches and students. But even if we can only help LCMC brothers and sisters in Christ, for the sake of the harvest of souls, let us know!

Devotion for Saturday, December 23, 2017

Saturday, December 23, 2017 Devotion

“My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.   When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.”  (Psalm 63:5-7)

How much time do you spend with the Lord?  The Psalm reminds us to think on the Lord day and night, when we are waking and ready to sleep.  The Lord is a constant companion, ready and willing to walk with us at all times.  Be in relationship with the Lord, for this is the call of salvation and the hope of all who believe.  Know that the Lord is good and there and waiting.

Lord, I say with my lips one thing and then get busy with another.  Help me, I pray, to see in You the hope of glory that shines throughout the ages.  Guide me according to Your purposes that I would meditate upon You day and night and know the goodness You impart to those who walk with You.  Lead me, O Lord, that I may walk with You throughout the day and all the days of my life.

Jesus, You have come to model the godly life.  You told us to pray without ceasing.  Help me learn from You how to do this that I may truly walk with You all the day long.  Guide the thoughts of my mind, the meditation of my heart and the path I take throughout the day.  Lead me, O Lord, that I may follow You, my Lord and my Savior.  Lead my mouth to be full of Your praise all the day long.  Amen.

Weekly Devotional for November 22, 2017

“Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” (Luke 12:13)

It’s as though the United States Congress just put its entire military at your command, and you respond by saying, “Could they mow my lawn maybe?”  There our Lord Jesus sat, preaching the kingdom of God in all its cruciform power, and this young man wants him to settle a property dispute.  Our Lord’s response was surely just: “Who made me arbitrator over you?”  He’s no arbitrator; he’s the Son of Man and Prince of Peace!

As you come to our nation’s Day of Thanksgiving, remember this great power of the One whom you thank, and His greater, joyful intention for you.  The moisture of the clouds and the grains of the earth are but a foretaste of the “kingdom come,” already pressing its way into earth through the water of Baptism and the Bread of Heaven.  He would give you more than your father’s cash; He’d give you the Father’s kingdom.

How much reason, then, to give thanks!  As you come before Him over the next several days, give thanks not only for the food on the table, but for the Food that ever lasts, His Son, Jesus Christ, and ask Him to share that Holy Feast abundantly, through you and all His Church.

LET US PRAY: O living Bread, my Lord Jesus Christ: thank You!  For what greater reason do I have to give thanks but You?  Unite my gratitude, as poor as it may be, with Your own ceaseless petitions at the Father’s right hand, and make known to all the world the glory of Your cross.  Amen

Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Zion, Wausau