We just wrapped up an unusual and challenging summer, and now is the time to begin to prayerfully look at next year’s possibilities and opportunities. If the Lord tarries, we should all be found investing and developing missional disciples. It won’t happen by accident. It takes the intentionality of leaders to make it happen. We have a tremendous resource of ministry leaders across our state poised and gifted by God to invest in faithful men and women who will in turn do the same.
Residencies or internships are not necessarily seasonal. We have future leaders all around us in our churches year-round. I have personally seen tremendous results from intentional residencies and internships. Of the several summer interns that I was privileged to be part of hosting and investing in, almost all ended up moving forward in ministry leadership in some capacity. Spending time with seasoned leaders as well as having the opportunity to start things and develop aspects of ministry are invaluable for their personal development as missional leaders. I was privileged to serve two summers as a ministry intern during seminary. It gave me a chance to “ground truth” what I was learning, what God was stirring in me, and practice skills that needed to be developed and honed.
Churches that make and develop missional disciples plant churches. There is currently a shortage of qualified and called missionaries ready to plant the Gospel-bearing churches that are needed in Montana and across the world. Where are those planters going to come from? They are going to come from our churches.
No matter the level of resources available in your local context, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) has developed tools for your church to help you develop missional disciples. One area of resources is residency/internship. Don’t think of it as a program, but more of intentional relationships. Residencies for some churches will be with an individual, maybe two. Residencies for other churches may be a cohort. Interns can come in many forms. High school, college, or seminary students are prime candidates for summer residencies. Local leaders who need to grow and develop as missional disciples, church members with a passion for the various mission fields, and those who answer the call to teach and preach can greatly benefit from intentional investment. The latter group is the new focus that is being emphasized, but all can benefit.
NAMB has developed a webpage with links to descriptions and examples, interviews with and testimonials from seasoned pastors who have led residencies, and even a basic quick start guide to help you plan and launch. They can be found at www.namb.net/residencies . Okay, so you are interested. What are you going to do with these interns? To help support your residency development efforts, NAMB also provides churches and pastors tools that can be utilized during the internship/residency relationship. The Multiplication Pipeline (www.namb.net/pipeline) can help you develop missional disciples. There are levels that can be customized for what you need. They are biblically-based and practice-based, engaging the mind, the heart, and the hands. They even have coaching guides for the one who is investing in the resident/intern.