Consideration should be given to how frequently you will meet with your interns. It is important to meet at least once a week. Before your first meeting, consider how you assess the skill’s your interns bring with them (Click Here for an Assessment Guide). By assessing their skills you will be better able to set an agenda for these meetings and better able to teach to their strength and their skill deficits. As part of their internship, consider how you will care for their spiritual needs. I know some youth directors who practice spiritual disciplines with their interns. It is important to find a way to incorporate spiritual practices into their internship. Many great resources can help you to do this (Here is a Short Resource List).
After you have assessed the skills of the intern or interns it is helpful to next set goals for the internship (Click Here for a Goal Development Guide). There are at least three areas of ministry to consider, activity leadership, relationships and teaching. It is helpful to break activity leadership into two different areas, games and events. By the end of an internship a student intern should know how to lead a game (if that is part of your youth ministry culture) and the intern should know how to plan and execute a major event.
Developing goals around relationship building help interns to develop healthy relationships with students and their families. The goals need to focus on that student’s eco-system. An eco-system is the world in which student lives. Too often student ministries have focused on the students and neglected the student’s larger world. This has been extremely harmful to the church and to youth ministry. As youth workers, remember that parents are the primary ministers in the life of a student, we need to support, and resource parents for that role. Resist the temptation to narrowly focus your ministry.
Finally, develop a teaching goal. Teaching should be a primary focus of every youth worker. After you developed a teaching goal, it is important to provide timely feedback to your student interns. They need to hear your constructive feedback (Click Here for a Teaching Feedback Form). You can also have some of your leaders give feedback as well. This feedback needs to be given in a well thought out loving manner, you are launching students into ministry and they have not yet developed the thick skin ministry requires, so be sensitive.
Join us next time as we discuss advertising and sustaining your internship program over the long haul.