Build A Church Internship Program

A great internship program at your church can have an incredible impact on your ministry and on young leaders, but it’s not always easy to know how or where to start.

Here are a few guiding principles that helped us create Leadership XP, the Life.Church internship program.

Build A Church Internship Program

Start with the end in mindBefore you even advertise the internship or decide which interns to bring in, set an end goal.

Don’t start an internship program just to have an internship program. It should be intentional and have a purpose. The reason for having an internship is to accomplish something, so decide if the end goal should be leadership development, a hiring pipeline, or another measurement of success that best fits your ministry. Begin with your end destination in mind, and then make a roadmap to get there.


Get everyone on the same page. Once you’ve set an end goal, don’t keep it a secret. Setting expectations prevents your staff from thinking of the internship program as just free help. Once your team has a full understanding of the purpose of the internship, everyone can get on board to accomplish the goals.


Not “just an intern.” Of course, interns are just that—interns, and they’ll be on your team for a short while. But if you start to think of them as actual team members, everyone (you, your staff, and the interns themselves) will have the mindset they should be contributing something meaningful to the ministry. Whether the program is three months, six months, or a year, it shouldn’t just be about getting them exposed to the work. Make it hands-on, not just eyes-on. Interns are capable of more than you think, so letting them contribute keeps them fully engaged and helps your team accomplish more.


The right mentor. Your intern needs a mentor, so examine your staff and look for two things. (1) Someone who has the margin to pour in and develop the intern, (2) someone who has the heart for development. Not everyone is a great fit to be a mentor, and that’s perfectly fine. But making the right match can be the difference between a good internship and a great internship. Once you’ve identified the right staff member, make sure that he or she has a gameplan for what the intern will be doing. This doesn’t have to be micromanaged to every detail, but make sure that the intern’s tasks are incorporated into the team’s existing goals.

We use these principles to set our interns up for success spiritually, personally, and professionally—and we focus on them in that order.

Open Digerati Internship

If yo udon’t offer an internship program at your church, we have an internship opportunity right here at Open Network. Life.Church has internship programs for virtually every aspect of ministry.  The Digerati LXP Internship focuses on practical, hands-on experience in areas like coding, design, marketing, project management, and more. Paid internships begin in September, and the deadline to apply is July 15.

If you’re feeling called to take the next step, apply for Life.Church’s Digerati LXP Internship today!


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