How to Setup a Church Summer Internship Ministry

This week our church had our four summer interns arrive. We’re privileged to be near both a seminary and a Bible college, so we always have interns coming and going, but I especially love when the summer interns show up.  What makes our summer interns extra special is that they are full-time, which means they are able to see nearly everything that goes on behind the scenes. It is an amazing time of mentoring and growing for every student that is able to participate.  But how exactly do we set the summer up so that every intern is able to learn as much as possible?


First, we have a formal application process.  We are only able to take on four paid summer interns, despite the fact that we always have far more apply.  To help us decide who gets to spend the summer with us, we have them fill out a preliminary application that asks them about their ministry goals, where they are at in life, and where they see God leading them.  We only allow individuals who are pursuing full-time vocational ministry to be a part of our summer intern ministry.  (To see the application that we use feel free to check out

After they fill out the application there is an interview.  If we don’t already know them well, we use this interview to get to know them a bit better and hear more of their story.  We also take the interview to go over the Summer Intern Job Description so we are sure they know exactly what they are getting themselves into.

Once the intern has been accepted, we make sure that their 10 weeks with us is chock full of both ministry experience and practical learning.  Interns are busy with church services and meetings, they are doing visitation throughout the week, following up with people, doing administrative items, heading to kid’s camp,  helping in youth group, teaching in nursing homes, serving communion, assisting with funerals, and so much more.  There is never a shortage of ministry opportunities for each intern to be a part of.  We also make sure that they are receiving practical instruction.  There is a time of formal ministry training each Wednesday specifically for the interns.  We cover a lot of topics in these sessions but here is a list of topics we try to cover at some point or another.

To ensure that every intern is getting the most out of the internship we hold them accountable.  First, we do this by requiring weekly staff reports.  Typically this is done by having them send a weekly email that lists what they did, who they contacted, how many hours they put in, questions they have, and a few other items.  Second, every intern is assigned to an associate pastor that works one-on-one with them throughout the summer.  They make sure they both stay busy and learn a lot during their internship.

Finally, we compensate our full-time interns.  The main reason we can only take on four summer interns is that we do pay them something.  We expect our summer interns to put in at least 50 hours a week, so there really isn’t much opportunity for them to have another side job.  Again, they are putting in 50 hours a week over 10 weeks, and although we do not pay them is not a lot it does help them pay a few bills over the summer.  Although we certainly do not promise anything, sometimes at the end of the summer if an intern has gone above and beyond throughout their entire internship, we will even throw a little something extra towards their school bill.

This is what we do to make sure that our interns always have a great summer where they are able to both learn and grow.  What does your church do for any interns you may have?

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