CHRIST UNITED REFORMED CHURCH PASTORAL INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
I. INTRODUCTION II. PREREQUISITES III. DUTIES IV. EVALUATION V. APPLYING TO THE PROGRAM
The Pastoral Internship Program of Christ United Reformed Church (CURC) is a one-year period of training and evaluation for men who aspire to the ministry of the Word. The Consistory has developed this program out of a desire to be obedient to Scripture. As the apostle Paul told Timothy “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim 2.2). Moreover, Article 3 of the URCNA Church Order states:
Competent men should be urged to study for the ministry of the Word. A man who is a member of a church of the federation and who aspires to the ministry must evidence genuine godliness to his Consistory, which shall assume supervision of all aspects of his training, including his licensure to exhort, and assure that he receives a thoroughly reformed theological education. The council of his church should help him ensure that his financial needs are met.
The CURC Pastoral Internship Program is designed to be a means to that end. It provides a potential candidate for the ministry one year of training and evaluation in areas of leading worship, preaching the Word, pastoral care, catechizing the youth, and church polity. The intern will be mentored by an experienced pastor, given opportunity to display and develop his gifts, and overseen by the Consistory who will determine his suitability for the ministry of the Word. Ordinarily, he will receive a small monthly stipend for his labors.
In order to provide the intern with quality mentorship and evaluation, as well as adequate amount of opportunity to display and develop his gifts, the Consistory will ordinarily admit only one man per year. The course of the year shall typically run from June to May in accordance with the intern’s seminary education. In extraordinary circumstances, the Consistory may admit two men per year. This, however, may impact the interns’ amount of opportunity to lead worship and exhort.
It should be noted that this internship program has been developed in the context of CURC’s close geographical proximity to Westminster Seminary California and several years of experience of receiving seminary students into membership, overseeing their training, and recommending some for the ministry of the Word. It is our prayer that this program will bear good fruit for the glory of Christ, the spread of His gospel, and the edification of His church.
A man who desires to enter the CURC Pastoral Internship Program must meet the following requirements:
1. He must be a male member in full communion and good standing of Christ URC for at least one year before entering the program. 2. He must be a graduate of or enrolled as a student in the Master of Divinity program at a theological seminary that provides a thoroughly reformed theological education in accordance with URCNA Church Order Appendix 1. Ordinarily, the program will run over the course of the intern’s third year in seminary. While in rare cases the Consistory may allow a man to enter the program earlier than his third year, it is preferred that the prospective intern complete two full years of the Master of Divinity degree before entrance into the internship. 3. He must demonstrate a desire to enter the ministry of the Word. 4. He must apply and be approved by the Consistory of CURC for entrance into the program. 5. He must sustain a licensure examination by his Consistory in accordance with URCNA Church Order Appendix 2.
There are six main areas of duty given to the intern in the Pastoral Internship Program:
1. Leading worship
Over the course of his one-year internship, the intern will ordinarily lead a worship service twice per month. This shall include leading in public prayer, leading the confession of faith, announcing songs, etc. This will give the intern vital experience in planning and leading different parts of the liturgy, as well as opportunity to demonstrate his ability to lead the congregation in worship. This will also provide the Consistory with the opportunity to evaluate the intern’s gifts in this area and offer him constructive feedback.
In the event that the Consistory admits two interns over the course of one year, the number of opportunities for each man to lead worship at CURC may be reduced.
Over the course of his one-year internship, the intern will ordinarily exhort (preach) in a worship service once per month. This will provide the intern with a monthly opportunity to demonstrate and develop his gifts for preaching the Word of God. This will also allow the Consistory a twelve-month period to evaluate the intern’s gifts for preaching, offer constructive feedback, and determine whether or not he possesses the necessary gifts for the ministry of the Word.
The intern is encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to exhort in other congregations, especially but not limited to those in the URCNA. This, however, is not to conflict with his monthly assignment of exhorting or leading worship at CURC.
In the event that the Consistory admits two interns over the course of one year, the number of opportunities for each man to exhort at CURC may be reduced.
3. Catechizing the youth
During the period of his one-year internship, the intern will be assigned a catechism class to teach and/or assist in teaching. This will provide the intern with an opportunity to instruct the youth of the church, learning how to make complicated subjects of doctrine easily understood.
4. Pastoral care
Throughout his one-year internship, the intern will be given assignments each month by the pastor in particular areas of pastoral care. This may include tasks such as visitation of shut-ins, members in the hospital, family visitation with the elders or pastor, visitation of widows with the deacons, meeting with individual members of the congregation, evangelism or discipleship opportunities, etc. Some assignments will be done in accompaniment to the pastor or council members, while others will be done alone. Ordinarily, all assignments will require a short reflection paper from the intern on what he learned, which will be reviewed by the Consistory.
5. Consistory and council meetings
Over the course of his one-year internship, the intern will attend the monthly Consistory meeting as well as all scheduled meetings of the council. This will provide the intern with some experience in church polity and proper oversight of the congregation. This also provides the Consistory with the opportunity to evaluate the intern’s ability to conduct himself well at ecclesiastical meetings. It is also recommended that the intern attend at least one meeting of the deacons.
6. Meetings with the pastor
The pastor of Christ URC will meet with the intern twice per month over the course of the one-year program. This will provide the intern with feedback and candid evaluation of the intern from a seasoned minister of the Word.
In addition to completing the six duties described above, the intern is expected to attend all worship services, including special services, and all URCNA intern meetings at Westminster Seminary California.
The Consistory of CURC also expects the intern to:
• evidence genuine godliness; • carry himself in a godly and dignified manner in public; • dress professionally and look presentable when at church, seminary, or on any official assignment; • inform the pastor and clerk via email when he is scheduled to exhort in another church; • check his christurc.org email daily; • maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 in seminary; • maintain a diligent record of all seminary-required forms and accumulated hours of field-education.
The intern will receive three formal evaluations by the Consistory of CURC. Each of these will be conducted after four months of observation, normally in October, February, and June. They will be conducted in person, during a meeting of the Consistory.
These evaluations will assess the intern’s competence and character. In the first place, the Consistory will review with the intern his demonstrated level of competence in preaching, leading worship, teaching the youth, pastoral care, and interpersonal skills. Second, they will assess his character in areas of his general attitude and conduct, his interaction with members of the congregation and visitors, his leadership of his family (if applicable), as well as his faithfulness to complete assigned tasks. The Consistory will identify the intern’s strengths as well as offer recommendations on needed improvement.
In the third and final evaluation, the Consistory will inform the intern of whether or not they recommend him for the ministry of the Word.
V. APPLYING TO THE PROGRAM
The following credentials should be presented to the Consistory of CURC between January 1 and March 31 of the year the prospective intern desires to enter the program. This allows the Consistory adequate time to review the prospective intern’s application, interview him, and schedule a licensure examination. Applications received after March 31 will not be considered. An application must contain the following:
1. A brief statement of faith and confessional commitment. 2. A brief statement expressing desire for the ministry, as well as a personal assessment of perceived gifts and abilities for the ministry of the Word. 3. A transcript of all seminary grades. 4. A seminary faculty recommendation 5. Two written sermons for review.