Why should Grace Life conduct a multi-year internship? Doesn’t that cost money? Doesn’t that cost Pastor Joel needed time “on the church”? Let me give you five thoughts on why Grace Life has an internship program or a pastoral residency:
- 1 Timothy 2:2 teaches that the Christian church is to identify and train faithful men who will continue to teach and preach the gospel for the following generations.Our pastoral residents function as “pastors-in-training.” It gives them and Pastor Joel opportunity for greater in-depth conversation about what it means to pastor a church.
- Part of our church planting strategy is to train faithful men to preach the gospel as pioneering church planters. Grace Life must accept its responsibility to further the Great Commission in our generation.
- The kingdom of God is helped, expanded, and served as we train men for the ministry. There is a church in Dalhart, TX that has a pastor partially because you all invested and helped train a dear brother.Allowing these men to preach at Grace Life not only gives them opportunities to preach before a church family, but it’s also a good reminder that one of our main responsibilities is to train these men to go and serve other congregations. Whenever one of our residents preaches, I pray for his future congregation that he may end up pastoring.
- Will every man that goes through the internship/residency become a pastor? Probably not. But that too is part of our part in helping a man discern his call to the gospel ministry. Good intentions are no replacement for the Spirit’s gifting to shepherd the Lord’s sheep.
- Allowing pastoral residents to exercise their pastoral gifts is healthy for them and healthy for the church. When a sixty-year-old humbles himself and listens with intent as a thirty-year-old preaches the Word for the second or third time, that takes a measure of humility for that dear brother to receive the Word of God. When a member allows a pastor in training to visit them in the hospital it creates a culture of gracious giving and receiving gospel words from one dear brother to a church member. This helps foster a spirit of humility from the one speaking to the one receiving. This is a good thing.
Finally, there are many unanswered questions about our pastoral internship program that really need to be answered. How long should it last? How do we help a brother who still senses God’s direction to pastor but the timing is not right to leave Houston? How can we help them transition into ministry? These questions and many more will need to be answered in the years to come. Will you pray that God will allow Grace Life to be more concerned with our sending capacity than our seating capacity?