[Michael Lawrence 3:45pm Friday late afternoon 9/14/07]
Part I: Training Younger pastors
2 Timothy 2:2:
“What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
Seminaries don’t train pastors. Churches train pastors.
The church shouldn’t be about feeding ourselves and taking care of ourselves. We’re about raising pastors up and sending them out.
The intern program is a major way that CHBC does this. Essentially they want to train younger pastors by starting a conversation about the church, about what the Bible says about the church, about what the Bible says a pastor is. Their goal in the internship is to expose interns to what it’s like to be a pastor.
How do they do that? The intern program is divided into two halves conceptually.
(1) Bring them in and do a lot of reading and writing and talk to the interns about what they’re reading and writing. The conversation is grounded in where most of American churches find their roots in the Protestant English speaking Reformation. Interns write 5, 6, or 7 papers a week…Mark Dever reads them all, and then they talk about it for three hours every Thursday (Lord willing of course).
There is formal instruction every week on Sunday evenings as they all (pastoral staff, staff, and interns) sit down and talk about everything we did in the Sunday morning service.
This models giving and receiving both encouragement and godly criticism. Many churches have a good dose of ungodly criticism and a false encouragement. They seek to develop a culture and environment of godly criticism for the benefit of both the individual and the church. Also, they seek to model receiving the encouragement and criticism in a godly way.
(2) Exposure…you disciple people how to be pastors, not teach. Interns live on the block with the pastors of the church. Often the interns are in the pastors’ studies and in their homes. They encourage them to just walk in and hang out, observe, go on walks, ask questions, etc.. They try to model how to live out the calling of a pastor day in and day out throughout life. If Mark and Michael are there the interns are there (weddings, hospitals visits, etc.). They expose interns to as much as possible as long as possible in the short 5 months that they have them.
They also encourage them to stay after the internship by taking a job on the Hill and take classes through the SBTS extension campus few years. “Consider the learning experience by being members of the church for a little longer,” they said. This is not only useful for this church, but a way that this church can be blessing to other churches in the world and generations. They devote $75,000 a year plus the loss of income of housing to do the internship and pastoral assistant program.
The internship means sacrifice of the staff’s time in order to invest in these men knowing that they will never minister here…only to leave and then minister to others. They exhorted us to invest the time so that we may do the same for others.
They handle pastoral matters in front of the interns, and the interns have an understanding that we cannot talk about it outside of the meeting. (As an intern I can’t explain how much this program has meant to me just one month in!)