The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. (1 Timothy 3:1)
Prior to the industrial revolution, children would typically pursue the profession of their parents. A son with a blacksmith father would be trained to become a blacksmith. Child rearing included an apprenticeship for a future vocation. Today most vocations provide some form of apprenticeship or internship to aspiring workers. Welders has an apprenticeships for aspiring welders, electricians have internships for aspiring electricians. People require training to excel in their future vocation.
Historically churches were the training ground for future pastors. Pastors would provide training for aspiring ministers so that they would learn how to be an overseer. As education grew in the 20th century, churches started to abdicate their God-given role in training future pastors to seminaries. Although seminaries are a wonderful place for students to learn doctrine, theology and historic orthodoxy, it is the job of the church to train future pastors. If welders can train welders, pastors should train pastors.
The first step to train pastors is to find those who aspire to be an overseer in the church. Church leadership is not a task for everyone, but it begins with God placing the aspiration in the hearts of men. The church must help men who aspire to the pastorate discern if they are truly called by God. And if they are called by God, the church must train so that they will be effective in God’s kingdom.
To that end, the deacon body has voted to approve the start of a pastoral internship program at Park Baptist Church. The non-paid internship at Park Baptist Church would exist to provide participants, approved by the pastoral staff, the opportunity to experience the various demands of church leadership. Participants would be required to complete regular reading assignments covering a variety of topics: Preaching, Pastoral Care, Visiting the Sick, How to Conduct a Funeral, How to Conduct a Wedding, Counseling, Hermeneutics, Staffing, Family, Parenting, Children’s Ministry, Church Finances, Ecclesiology, Systematic Theology, Suffering etc. The reading assignments would accompany a short reflection paper that would spark a moderated discussion by the Senior Pastor.
The aim of the internship is to prepare men through theological instruction and practical experience. Participants will have an opportunity to preach Sunday Evening sermons and receive feedback from Pastoral Staff. Students will also accompany pastor and deacons on hospital and shut-ins visits. Participants will learn how to conduct a funeral and how to comfort a grieving family. Participants will meet regularly with the Senior Pastor to discuss readings and church life. They will be required to help in service preparation including but not limit to: preaching schedule, prayers in service, hymns, and Scripture readings during the service.
This internship would help participants see how theology drives methodology. It also would be designed to help grow Christian character in the men that participate. Aspiring pastors need to grow into godly husbands and fathers if they are going to effectively lead the church.
Imagine twenty years from now having men all over the world serving in the pastorate trained for the ministry through Park Baptist Church. I believe this pastoral internship will be a blessing to our congregation and the kingdom of God. . Please pray as we consider our responsibility to train future pastors for the glory of God and the good of the church.