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Shaping the Future - Pastoral Internships

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Two of the sessions that I had the privilege of attending at the National Leadership Conference dealt touched upon the concept of Pastoral Internships. It is refreshing to see that a number of the bigger sized (by this I mean 400 or more, not necessarily the mega-churches) Fundamental churches are beginning to understand and pursue this type of ministry as a regular function of their ministry. It is one of my hopes and prayers that we will be able to be involved in this kind of ministry as a church before too long. (Of course, I envision the work of God going forth across the Delmarva Peninsula in such a way that strong, Fundamental, Baptist churches are able to be found throughout the Peninsula some day, but that is still a little down the road.)

Prior to coming to Messiah Baptist Fellowship in December of 2004, I spent the previous five plus years at Hardingville Bible Church in New Jersey under the leadership of Pastor Mark Franklin. This church has had an ongoing Pastoral Internship program for a number of years now and can happily point to a number of men in the ministry who have "graduated" from the internship program at HBC and are now out serving as Pastors (and a missionary). During my time there I had the opportunity to work with three of these interns and eventually ended up becoming one of the interns myself (albeit my "internship" was different in nature than the normal internship program). It is a neat thing for the church (and I am sure for Pastor Franklin as well) to be able to see the men that come in mature in their faith and in their ministry skills during their time involved in the internship program at HBC.

The two sessions that I went to that touched on this area of ministry were "Are you Helping to Shape the Future? Let's talk about Internships" by Pastor Mark Franklin of Hardingville Bible Church in Monroeville, NJ and "Making Sure We Are Making Disciples: Comprehensive Methods for Church Planting in a Changing World" by Pastor Dan Brooks of Heritage Bible Church in Greer, SC.

Both of these men presented helpful ideas in this area (Pastor Brooks' presentation dealt more tangentially upon the topic as part of his overall presentation, while Pastor Franklin's presentation was focused upon this issue). Obviously I have seen Pastor Franklin's ministry in this area first-hand and up-close, so there was not a lot that was necessarily "new" to me in this presentation, but it was good to see him present it to others who were not familiar with his ministry. Pastor Brooks is one of those guys who must have a memory like a steel trap. He was the President of Inter-Society Council at BJU back when I was first elected as Vice President of Bryan Society in 1988 or so. As far as I know, I have only seen him maybe two times since then - once at a conference at the Wilds and once this past week. In both cases, he addressed me by name - even though I cannot imagine how he could remember my name after all these years (it is one thing for me to remember him - he was ISC President, Pastor's a fairly large church in the Greenville area, speaks at conferences like this one, etc., but for him to remember me is quite a feat).

In Pastor Franklin's presentation, he dealt with the Scriptural responsibility of training men in ministry and the Shepherding role of the Sr. Pastor in this process. He dealt a little bit with everybody favorite verse on discipleship and leadership training (2 Timothy 2:2) and particularly mentioned some of the things that we know about Paul's relationship to Timothy. He also dealt a little bit with the Old Testament example of the "sons of the prophets" who seem to have been men being trained by Elijah and Elisha.

One of the things that is revealed as you look at the relationship between Elijah and Elisha and Paul and Timothy is that there seems to be a number of areas where the younger men followed in the steps of their "mentors". Of course, that should not surprise us, since Christ said:

Luke 6:40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

Three areas that Pastor Franklin mentioned specifically is that when Pastors train Pastors the younger Pastor should be developed in his education, exposure, and experience. He also reminded us that "More is caught than taught" in a setting like this.

I want to spend a lot more time on this down the road and the whole concept of training men for ministry, but that would require time that I do not currently have.

Just my thoughts,


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