What the Pastor Expects of the Intern

PASTOR: What the Pastor Expects of the Intern

Some common tasks that intern pastors receive

Pastor, Michigan Conference

[EDITORIAL NOTE. The young ministerial intern is exceedingly conscious of the necessity of making his first efforts a success. He is anxious to please his directors and to be well accepted by our church members. In his dealings with human nature definite problems will arise. If these are not properly handled, complications will result and misunderstandings will increase. Occasionally the young worker's ability to get along with others may even be in question. Elder Johns here gives the intern as well as his director some wholesome and helpful advice. EDITORS.]


Prayer Meeting, Missionary Volunteer Meeting, Council, Sabbath School, Extra Services.

Unless an intern has a very good reason, he should attend every service of the church. He should be present at least one-half hour before the service begins. There are times when Bible studies or cottage meetings may demand his attention; however, if at all possible these should be arranged for at other times than those scheduled for services in the church.


Neither an intern nor an associate pastor should ever make any decisions independently of the pastor. Both should always consult with the pastor as to visiting, service arrangements, requests of the members, et cetera. There can be only one head to a successful organization, and most pastors have a fixed policy, which should be adhered to. The intern is not responsible for the decisions made in a church, but he is certainly responsible for the most faithful assistance in a going organization that it is possible for him to give.


To Church Doctrine, Ministerial Ethics, Ministers' Standards, Conference Officials, Pastor, All Churches in the Denomination, Mission Program.

An intern must be one hundred per cent loyal to the entire church program. He must be loyal to the pastor. He may not agree with his policies, but he realizes he can learn something from every minister. He cannot ever listen to any criticism of the minister or his policies. He must never sympathize with any disgruntled member. When talking to all such, his praise of the pastor should always be the highest. Generally the things an intern says, and even his attitudes, get back to the ears of the pastor and may tend to discourage the aims of a program.


With Other Young Couples, Older Members, Rich Members, Important Members; Social Life, Attendance at Private Parties.

An intern must learn, as every good pastor has learned, that a minister should never single out one member from another. All must be treated alike, from the lowliest to the highest. An in tern never makes special friends with other young couples; if he does, he is injured by his well-meaning friends, and the church suffers a great spiritual loss, for jealousy always follows favoritism. To shun private parties is almost a must in the life of the minister. A minister should always remember he is the ambassador of Christ, the spiritual guide of the church he is never a "social host," a "hail fellow well met," or a "master of ceremonies," and if he falls for this subtle temptation, his spiritual leadership greatly suffers.


Changing Established Church Programs, Pastoral Methods, Church Organization, Conducting Services.

An intern should only hesitatingly make suggestions it is not his program; he is not responsible for the work of the pastor. He is placed there to learn from the long experience of a minister schooled in handling many churches. The job of the intern is to assist the program in every possible way. However, the wise pastor is always open to new suggestions, realizing that the success of his work is dependent on much prayer, consecration, and right decisions guided by the Holy Spirit. An intern would do well to remain quiet for a few years and glean from such ministry a working basis for his own work later on. This, however, would not suggest that he develop a restrained personality, for the work of God requires initiative.


Study, Spare Time, Prayer, Devotion, Speaking, Visiting, Observation.

A good pastor does much to assist an intern in developing into a well-balanced worker for Christ. He should guide his time into a fruitful ministry. There must be time for study, and the pastor offers suggestions on books, magazines, and methods. An intern should listen to all these suggestions, not to copy another man, but to begin to develop his own program that he will use later on.


Speaking Ability, Enthusiasm, More Speed Than Older Man.

An intern should never be elated by what people say to him about his success, his speaking ability, and how much they appreciate him above the pastor. These dangerous words of flattery lead only to self-exaltation, discontent with his lot, and a false idea of his own importance to the work. The pastor has been many years dealing with people, and his experience has no substitute in youthful glamour. The two cannot be compared when important decisions are at stake. Young ministers soon learn that people change, and what they say today they may not mean tomorrow. They may shout for you today, and tomorrow sign a petition to get you out of the ministry. The mistakes of a pastor are greatly enlarged in the emotional eyes of someone who has been crossed in the program or who feels that the pastor has not given him sufficient of his time. These come to the. intern with their troubles, and by even well-meant praise of his youthful ability attempt to enlist him on their side. How many church programs are wrecked when the intern does not use wisdom in dealing with such! The wise pastor will here instruct the intern in a life of devotion and prayer success in gaining wisdom from God to lead him aright in dealing with human nature.


Clothing, Money, Equipment, Food.

An intern should never parade his poverty and let the church members know how great a financial struggle he is having. Generally a person offering gifts does not realize the hard circumstance in which he places the minister. How can a minister preach on some sin they are committing, or go directly against them in a council decision, if he has accepted large and expensive gifts? In this class certainly could not be placed those little expressions of regard for a minister, manifested in small gifts of food. But expensive suits, automobiles, houses, and large sums of money are classed as hindrances to the well-being of the church. Most ministers either refuse these gifts or inform the people he is reporting the amount to the conference for a decision of what shall be done with it. Ministers are wonderfully provided for by this denomination; their salary, rent subsidy, car allowance, et cetera, place them in a higher income bracket than that of most of their members. They should jealously guard the good name of the ministry and be guided in all this by the conference officials.


Manual Labor in Church Repairs, Assisting Janitor in Heavy Emergency Work, Running Errands for the Church Clerk and Treasurer.

An intern should always offer his help for any kind of church labor he should never wait to be asked, and then make slighting remarks as to his station in life or do the work with unwillingness. He should never feel above the menial tasks. He should never be too busy to help anyone in the church who needs help.


The only way for a man to learn how to preach is to preach. But no minister should ever get the idea that perfection in the pulpit determines a successful all-round program. Because of thinking thus many young ministers chafe if they do not have opportunity to speak as much as they think they should. The pastor is justified in not giving too many speaking services in the regular church program to an intern. Whether to let the intern take the prayer meeting occasionally and perhaps the service one night a week in a series of evangelistic meetings is a decision left entirely to the pastor to fit into his program. However, the intern should be urged to hold cottage meetings, and even conduct small evangelistic services under the direction of the pastor. The pas tor can withdraw and give him full control in these meetings. This will certainly develop his speaking ability, and the experience of soul winning will be invaluable to him. Church members will often complain because the pas tor does not give an intern more speaking opportunities. However, the intern certainly should not listen to these complaints or consider them a compliment to his ability.

In analyzing the work of the intern minister, the intern may readily conclude that he has entered a high and important calling. The standards are the highest for human individuals to reach, and well may he ask himself, "Who is sufficient?" Christ is his example, and in contemplating Him, he receives a supply of divine grace. The young intern has launched into a beautiful ministry. Each year of service will provide richer experiences in caring for the flock and in winning souls for his Master.



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Pastor, Michigan Conference

May 1952

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