Why I’m finding internship important

On Tuesday, my day consisted of the following:

Rode the subway to Oliver’s daycare. He slept while I stared at my fellow passengers and smiled at them after they smiled at Oliver’s wonderful hat.
After I dropped Oliver off, I went to work.
I completed a draft of our Advent/Christmas pageant. Started planning three Sunday School lessons and one Confirmation lesson.
Met with the pastor of another church to talk about the joint Confirmation class that we were running that week.
Spent the day going in and out of my supervisor’s office as we finished up the details for the next two weeks since she’ll be out of town and I’ll be “in charge.”
Kept track of three dozen separate email conversations, covering things such as confirmation camp, pastoral visits, Sunday School teacher assignments, music, choir, Thursday night service details, flyers for an immigration clinic, outreach, first communion classes, etc.
Arranged a pre-baptism class; arranged to visit for a newborn.
Completed the agenda/details for my internship committee meeting.
Spent more time with my supervisor, ironing out more details.
Met with various folks who dropped by the church to say hello.
I think I ate lunch at some point but I don’t remember. Possibly pizza and a 20 oz diet coke. That’s my default lunch now.
Tried to help direct various homeless/hungry folks to the programs and associations that could help them.
Drafted our weekly electronic newsletter.
Updated our website.
Coordinated some details/information with the person who runs our facebook page.
Realized that I needed to actually do some detailed work with the Apostles’ Creed.
Didn’t really cross things off my list as more move them along.
Left my office, jumped on the subway, and read about clergy and death.
Then as I walked towards the seminary, to meetup with my son and wife, I spent twenty minutes on the phone with a woman I’ve never met, and never chatted with before, who’s in the midst of a traumatic illness in her family.
Immediately after that call ended, I walked into the special weekly service that my seminary puts together, and saw the baptism of a baby the same age of Oliver. Walked into a scene of naked butt cheeks and everything.
Then went to a share a meal with friends and the rest of my seminary community.
And I’m sure there’s more that I did that I’m forgetting.

The reason why internship matters more than just field experience is because internships let you see just how strange a day in ministry can be. There’s no barriers, really, towards what will happen. I can’t use school as a reason to keep everything in line or bounded. Pretty much, I spent the day feeling like I’m just making it all up as I go along. And, in ministry, you’re confronted with illness, poverty, hunger, fear, and death, all the time. And when that runs smack into new life, baptism (which is about death – but we ignore that a lot sometimes), and my role as a new dad – ministry is just so weird. So, so weird.

One thought on “Why I’m finding internship important”

  1. I think I’ve had a similar experience even in my field. When I was young, I thought adults knew everything about everything. Now I realize it’s all just made up. It’s kind of liberating.

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