Friday, September 21, 2012

Internship thoughts: From the Messenger (the Newsletter of First Baptist)

This month, we will be welcoming Mike Falcone to First Baptist Church as a Pastoral Intern. Mike is from North Reading Massachusetts, a graduate of Endicott College, and is enrolling to be a part time Gordon Conwell Student. I’ve known Mike for seven years; I met him when I was interviewing to be his youth pastor, and over the years, I have seen him grow into a man with a heart for God, and walked with him as he has discerned a call to ministry. Mike comes to us with a variety of ministry experience. During college, he was part of the Campus Fellowship at Endicott (think Intervarsity or Campus Cr-sade), and served on the leadership team of the Campus Fellowship the last 3 years. He is a veteran of multiple missions trips, and last summer he was in France for 2 months working with Thierry Mirone, the Youth Pastor and project coordinator of ITeams France. Mike has served in a variety of roles at First Baptist Reading. He has been a Vacation Bible School volunteer since entering sixth grade. He has served on various committees, and been a youth group leader since he began college. This summer, he served as the Interim Director of Youth Minis-tries. I am looking forward to having Mike here and working with him.

Since we have not had any pastoral interns in a very long time, I want to talk briefly about the purpose of a pastoral internship. The purpose is not primarily about getting free help (although this is how many churches view them). The purpose is learning, it’s for preparing for ministry, for thinking, for  seeing what works, and what doesn’t in a given  church, and for contemplating what biblical ministry looks like. Therefore, the goal of this internship is to help Mike think about what a healthy church looks like, and what the role of the pastor and church leader is, biblically. It will seek to give Mike an opportunity to see inside the church, and learn both from our strengths, and our shortcomings.

So what will Mikes duties be? His duties will be based around this goal of learning. He will be ob-serving the Church’s teaching ministry, attending committee meetings, making pastoral visits with me (and eventually, without me); and he will be reading (allot). He will be reading 7 books (“What is a Healthy Church”, “The Deliberate Church”, and “9 Marks of a Healthy Church” all by Mark Dever. “Center Church” by Tim Keller, “Going Deep” by Gordon MacDonald, “What is the Mission of the Church?” by Kevin DeYoung, “The Reformed Pastor” by Richard Baxter, and “The Master Plan of Evangelsim” by Robert Coleman), and interacting with the ideas in those books. He will also write a research paper on the subject of church health in the postmodern age. Additionally, Mike will be given opportunities to take part in leading the service, to teach (he will teach 4 weeks of the Men’s Bible Study and may help with children and youth), and to preach (2 or 3 times), and to gain ministry experiences as he seeks to discern his gifting for ministry.

As Mike becomes part of this church for a season, I have a request for you. First, welcome Mike. Welcome him with open arms. But second, pray for Mike. Just as Paul trained up Timothy, and Titus, and a host of others, we are taking him in as a son, and seeking to help him prepare for all that God has for him to do. We are seeking to build him up, and then send him out for the glory of God, and the furthering of His kingdom. Pray for Mike. Pray that God will be teaching him about the nature of gospel ministry, about the nature of the church, and about what it means to give his life in service to the kingdom of God.

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