Last night I had the privilege of spending time with our summer interns. Our purpose in having college students for the summer is pretty simple. Students have more time in the summer to hang out and chill. It's a great time to connect with a lot of students relationally. That's our intern's number one goal.
Although the goal sounds simple enough it takes planning and preparation to have effective results. Yes, even the organic goal of building and deepening relationships takes prep time. So, last night we spent several hours together thinking about the summer. Here are some things we spoke about...
It's all about the heart
Those of us who have been in ministry a long time know this to be true but still struggle. More important than anything we do or relationship we develop is finding time and space for our hearts to connect with Jesus. If we (or our staff / interns) are not connecting with Jesus, we have nothing to offer students.
It's all about relationships
Pretty simple. Go deeper with the students that are easily accessible, but work hard to connect with students who are on the peripheral. The tendency is to spend 90% of our time with kids who are pursuing us. To reach out to students who are aren't always around requires careful intentionality.
It's all about wisdom
For interns (and veteran youth workers) if you have to ask the question, "i wonder if it would be ok if..." is a sign you probably shouldn't. When you're 18 or 19 landing on the conservative side of decision making is important. Here's some other wisdom thoughts.
Don't drive alone with someone of the opposite sex
If a students wants to do something that requires a signing by someone over 18, don't
Be careful not to drive like a maniac with students in the car
Remember to communicate with parents
If there's a discussion about illegal activity / abuse, contact a staff member immediately
There are other topics we discussed like the importance of prayer and how to do fun things with little money etc. I truly believe God is going to work through our interns. Yes, it's only 3 months but God uses people when they're connected to him and willing to simply be there.
My friend Jim Burns says student ministry is the ministry of "being there". That's exactly what I want our summer intern program to be about.