If you’ve spent any time at BigStuf, then you know that the real all-stars of the summer are the amazing group of college-aged interns working tirelessly behind the scenes to make the camp experience incredible for your student groups each week. They are the hearts, hands and feet of BigStuf every summer, and that’s why we do our best to make the experience valuable for them while they’re with us.
Thinking about creating an internship program in your own student ministry? We’d love to help! Check out some wisdom on how to develop an internship program at your church from the incredible lady taking charge of ours—BigStuf’s Intern Director, Larissa Bright.
5 Tips for Developing Your Internship Program
- Prepare a vision. Before you do anything else, start by praying and preparing a vision for the program as a whole. What will this internship represent? What are its values? What do you hope your interns will walk away with at the end of their time with you?
- Determine the need. You want to make sure the internship is valuable for your interns. So rather than just placing them in random jobs, determine where your specific needs are and design the program around those needs. Where do you need extra help? What parts of your ministry could use extra hands? Where can you provide opportunities for leadership and growth in your interns?
- Set standards. It’s important to set the standards for your internship up front. Determine what you expect from your interns and how you’re going to communicate that to them. Establish boundaries and limits for the program and promote an understanding of why those things are important to maintain. Aim for excellence, humility, passion and respect to be the standards of the program.
- Encourage responsibility and ownership. There’s no better way to develop leadership in your interns than by encouraging them to be responsible for or take ownership of different aspects of the ministry. This could be as simple as giving them regular jobs or duties or as large as letting them plan and execute an event. The key is to entrust them to take ownership of something to develop their leadership skills and sense of responsibility in the internship.
- Meet weekly.
It’s important to set consistent times to check in with your interns throughout the program. Meeting weekly allows you the opportunity to evaluate the highs and lows of the previous week, talk through issues or learning opportunities, ask questions and truly listen to and pray for your interns. More than anything, you want them to walk away from the program feeling seen, known and valued by you as a leader. Being intentional about meeting with them consistently is a great way to do just that.
We hope you find these tips helpful as you create your own internship program; or spark your thoughts about how to make your current internship program even better!
Have a great week!