It’s a Wrap: College Pastoral interns Share Highlights of their Summer

Date Posted: 8/25/2016

Deployed to a variety of churches for the summer, conference interns have a variety of experiences and highlights to share about their pastoral preview experience.

All the experiences involved with stepping up to a pulpit are not typically part of the college curriculum. That’s where the TAC College Pastoral Intern Program (CPIP) comes in. Each summer, students are matched with congregations across the conference for a 10-week experience seeing church from the inside out. Interns explore this “trial run” as they reaffirm their personal call to ministry. This summer, eight students learned more about their gifts, talents, passions and interests as they led worship, helped with VBS, made pastoral visits and even filled the pulpit.
Intern Kathleen Halpin served at the United Methodist Temple, Port Arthur this summer. “I had a wonderful experience,” she shares. “I had the opportunity to participate and observe various aspects of pastoral ministry, develop a deeper relationship with God, and learn more about myself. Over the course of the summer, I made several hospital visits and took communion to people who were homebound which allowed me to encourage and pray for them, share God’s love with them, and include them in the church.” Adds Kathleen, “The people I visited blessed me as well because they shared their lives and faith with me. I have to admit that this aspect of pastoral ministry had the greatest impact on me because I learned to care for God’s people more deeply. This internship allowed me to experience many different aspects of ministry, to further develop the gifts God has given me, and to learn to rely on God in all aspects of my life.”
Samantha Wilkerson also feels blessed to be a part of the College Pastoral Intern Project this summer. “I was placed at Cypress Trails UMC in Spring, where I was mentored by Rev. Luis Ramirez and that loving congregation,” she shares. “At the beginning of the summer I was anxious and totally unaware what the Lord had planned for myself and this wonderful church. The first day, I went in ready to work, learn and be open to new ways to experience Christ,” she adds. “The first week I was there was chaotic, to say the least – a jumble of opportunities from playing with the children to hanging with the youth and learning from the congregation. Being at the church all day --- going from cooking for the children to working on a sermon to then participating in Zumba.”  After the first week, she took a deep breath over the weekend, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Admits Samantha, “I didn't know if I wanted to go back in to all the chaos. I didn't know if I had the ability to do what God was asking me to do. I prayed and decided to honor God's call and see where he was leading me. Over the next month, I learned that it was chaos but it was holy chaos: Holy chaos that I was meant to be a part of. I can tell you I never knew what each day had in store but knew it was going to be a good day! I learned to be more confident and have self worth. I learned some useful tools on how to preach a better sermon, on how to pray more boldly and expectantly of Christ, and I started to understand how to lead a congregation to Christ.”
And then there were surprise benefits. Notes Samantha, “Unexpected skills I learned included how to paint soccer field lines (never imagined that!) and how much I love mid-high students -- how I have passion to love on them and help them learn who Jesus is.” She learned more about herself through this internship. “I began to understand where God was leading me towards a life in ministry. Now looking back on my two months at Cypress Trails I can honestly tell you I was meant to be there. The church gave me a place to be in fellowship with Christ and showed me what a true church looks like. I will forever be grateful for my summer at Cypress Trails and the love and grace they poured on me in my ministry journey. These are just few of the blessings Cypress Trails poured into my life over this past summer. I am blessed to have made long lasting friendships and now have a community that fills my spiritual longings. I am glad to say Cypress Trails has helped give me confidence on my calling; my true calling to go into ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church! Whoooo!”

Pastoral Internship Program: Part of the Emerging Leader Initiative
The TAC Center for Clergy Excellence offers the pastoral internship for college students as a program that encourages a diverse group of gifted young candidates to enter pastoral service, and to equip local congregations to identify and encourage students to commit to pastoral ministry.
Under Bishop Huie’s direction, the Emerging Leaders Initiative offers innovative opportunities for the practice of ministry through four primary programs:
1. Texas Youth Academy, a two-week summer program for high school students.
2. College Pastoral Internship Project, a 10-week immersion in the life of a church.
3. Ambassador Grants, helping young clergy retire their seminary debt.
4. Advancing Pastoral Leadership, an advanced discipleship program for young pastors who demonstrate the highest potential for leadership.

Learn More About the College Pastoral Internship Project