I am an intern living in Birmingham. I have done theological study and short-term mission trips already, so at first, I deliberated if I needed to do an internship. I considered just volunteering at a local church, however the framework and structure of the internship appealed to me, so I decided to try it. I have dedicated this year to seek God for future direction and to explore training and ministry opportunities.
We have received excellent teaching via books and teaching videos on how to minister effectively cross-culturally, which I have found insightful and thought provoking. We have considered how we interpret the Bible through our western lens and how we present ourselves and convey the Christian message in contextualised ways. Each month we have an online session which includes devotionals, testimonies and a unique opportunity to hear the authors expand on their teaching and to dialogue with them.
My internship placement is in a new multicultural church plant; as it is in its early stages, there are lots of opportunities for participation. To facilitate the various cultures represented, we worship and pray in various languages and we fellowship together after church with a shared lunch. During the week I help out at a mum’s and toddlers’ group and an English class, which has afforded me opportunities to befriend ladies from various cultures in the surrounding community.
The internship has provided me with a mentor, who is an experienced minister. I have found that having a mentor is really encouraging and supportive, as we can discuss any personal or spiritual issues which I may be facing. Chatting to my mentor is a chance to share my experiences with someone who is prayerfully rooting for me. I also meet a mentor from my home church and update my former church leaders and they are supportive of me developing ministry skills and experience in this new setting.
During this internship year I had the privilege of going on a short trip to Morocco to explore the opportunity of returning to North Africa on a longer term. Being part of the internship group gave me an opportunity to reflect on my observations and receive their feedback.
I have found that the internship has given me a chance to amalgamate my previous theological training and mission experience. I have discovered that there were gaps in my experience and so I was overthinking and hesitant in reaching out to people. This increased self awareness has stretched me in relating to various cultures and caused me to consider my approaches to ministry. I am glad that I have explored my weaknesses in a supportive environment and have learnt from others.
The internship is holistic with theological, spiritual and practical ministry components. It has been a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, varying from New Frontiers leaders, authors, a new church family and other interns on a similar journey.
I would highly recommend doing an internship to develop oneself and prepare for cross cultural ministry.
*Joy’s real name has been changed for safety