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Hire an Intern

June 2, 2017

Are y200309672-001ou having serious questions about hiring that young 20-something who has applied for a position in your organization?

You want to give a young person a chance, but the little you have seen with other young adults does not give you a great deal of confidence? The person has not even graduated from college and wants to be an “intern” with us… and s/he doesn’t just want to sort papers and do filing for us. He wants to be involved in real-life work contexts. That sounds really risky! And its not like our company has a lot (or any) extra cash to “waste” on a maybe.

If that’s how you feel, it is still right to hire an intern… or two.

Here’s why.

Dan* served First Street Church (FSC) for seven years as youth pastor. During the course of his final two years with FSC, a couple of young men considering pastoral ministry had volunteered to help, one with the junior high (middle school) and one with the high school. They were finishing up their college degrees and it was a great way to get some practical experience. They meet weekly with Dan to talk about what they were doing with each group and Dan was still active in most of the events, regardless of the age group.

Then when Dan left FSC for another church, the board knew it would be challenging to hire a new youth pastor right away after the people had grown to love and appreciate Dan and his family so much. So, they chose to hire the two interns for the next year. Jon* would continue to work with the high school students and Jeremy* would continue to work with the junior high students. The one year turned into two years.

In hindsight, it seemed to work out well both for the youth interns who ended up with three years experience on their resumes as they went searching for full-time ministry, as well as for the church, who served their youth more than satisfactorily and also had time to search for a new youth pastor. Seeing the benefit of the previous model, they chose an older youth pastor who could work more with interns and coach them along.

Everyone thought that was the (happy) end of the story.

Fast forward 10 years. Jon and his family went on to serve as a youth pastor for five years in another community before going with an NGO to serve internationally. They returned to the FSC community and are employed by an educational organization in the area, still working students, especially high school age. He is well-respected for his skills in relating to students and for his wisdom in advising them.

Furthermore, while Jon* was a youth pastor in the other community, he impacted a high schooler named Shane.* Shane went off to college and after a few years ended up also training for the ministry, and working as a volunteer, then part-time, and eventually full-time.

Likewise, after serving as an intern, Jeremy and his family began the process of going overseas with a different NGO and have since worked in Asia for the past 4 years at an international school. Jeremy teaches middle school students primarily but connects with students of various ages as he also serves as the school chaplain some years.

So… hire the intern.

Your company may (or may not) have this kind of story to tell in 10 years. But for sure they will have invested in the future of not just your company, but possibly impacted many other lives because you invested in them.

*Names of individuals and organizations have been changed to protect the identity of the people who are part of this real-life situation.

Feel free to share some of your good (or bad) experiences with hiring an intern below.

 

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