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Internship possibilities

NB: Sites that wish to apply for an intern should contact the Director of Contextual Education in the fall preceding the year in which they would like the internshp to begin.

What is the Internship Program?

The ELCIC considers internship a prerequisite for ordination to pastoral ministry and consecration to diaconal ministry. It is also a required part of the MDiv and BTh degrees offered by LTS. Interns serve in a congregation and/or agency of this church or a partner church in the LWF, and increasingly in shared interdenominational ministries. The intern is supervised by an on-site supervisor, a Lay Internship Committee and the seminary, under the oversight of the seminary’s Director of Contextual Education.

The program provides for extended and thorough involvement in the regular ministry of a congregation or agency over an extended period of full-time or half-time service. It enables the student to develop the attitudes and skills needed for professional ministry. Except for solemnizing marriages and administering the sacraments, the intern becomes involved in all aspects of leadership in the intership site.

Why Host an Intern?

Congregations decide to have interns for a number of good reasons:

1. Because developing strong evangelical leadership may be the single most important element in God’s shaping of our church for the future. Student intern sites have a significant opportunity to influence the spirit, commitments, community outreach and theological directions of our church when they train one of its pastors or diaconal ministers. They may even be training one of their own future leaders.

2. Because the supervision of an intern is a growth experience for your pastor or diaconal minister. Professional ministry can be a lonely calling sometimes. Having an intern gives the supervisor a chance to share his or her ministry with a trainee/colleague in a close, vital way. It helps him or her to re-evaluate approaches and priorities, to sharpen his/her own skills and develop abilities in team ministry.
Many under-staffed congregations or agencies which anticipate that they may someday expand their staff begin with an intern. They find that the intern is a low-risk way to begin sorting through issues of leadership style, division of labor, team relationships, etc. Being a supervisor also helps to sharpen the supervisor's theological skills as he or she reflects on the meaning of ministry in the light of the Bible and our Lutheran tradition.

3. Because it energizes a congregation or agency’s life. This happens in two ways. First of all, interns are in a learning mode. So they bring a spirit of experimentation and creativity to the places they serve. They come fresh from seminary with new ideas (some workable and some not but all worth hearing!). They also come with some specialized tools for community outreach and congregational visioning.
Congregations or agencies may desire to undertake an expansion of their ministry in a particular area. The additional leadership an intern provides may help to get it off the ground. In addition, in order to help the intern learn the congregation or agency’s culture, history and values it will have to articulate these to the intern. This helps the intern to preach and minister in a context-specific way. But it is also an important experience of self-discovery for the lay committee particularly and the site as a whole. It helps the site to become more aware of itself--of its strengths, obstacles to growth, its fears and hopes.

4. Because our church's leaders don’t grow on trees. The pastors and diaconal ministers now serving so ably were given loving, effective training in ordinary congregations and agencies across our church. They gave sacrificially of time and money to ensure that the church would continue to have pastors who gather its people around Word and Sacrament and diaconal ministers who lead them out into the world to serve.

5. Because... although the costs for an intern (in terms of money and supervisory time) are significant, interns are a great “deal.” These interns are not green. All of them have significant experience through their own involvement in pre-seminary parish leadership, in practical, hands-on training at seminary and through supervised “contextual education” in Saskatoon area parishes. They help to extend the site's ministry in very significant ways. Depending on the student they may provide over the year as much as half to two-thirds of the work equivalent of a fully-trained professional minister.

What Standards Must an Intern Site Meet?

Since pastoral modeling and direct observation of the student’s work are essential to internship learning, interns will not be placed in congregations or agencies that do not have a reasonable amount of on-site supervision. Should a vacancy occur during the intern period, if at least half of the internship has taken place, then the interim pastor may serve as supervisor for the duration of the agreement if the seminary, CTEL and congregation or agency agree.

If half of the internship has not been completed, the seminary will make a decision in consultation with the bishop, CTEL, student and site. The site must be committed to contributing to the education needs of the student rather than just meeting the program or labor needs of the site. The site must provide exposure to all areas of ministry (e.g. worship, learning, witness, service and support) allowing for a more intense concentration in two or three areas of ministry.

The areas of ministry focus are negotiated with the student to meet both the students’ learning needs and the needs of the site. The site must be willing to support the supervisor’s participation in internship programming (i.e. in clusters, mid-winter retreat, weekly supervisory sessions, evaluations, on-site visit, etc.). The site must provide and train a lay intern committee to work with the student in the context.

Who Should a Prospective Site Contact for More Information?

Congregations wishing to know more about setting up an internship (including costs involved) are encouraged to contact the President.