This question was asked of our Master of Divinity graduates: “How was your internship a blessing to you and why would I recommend Baptist Bible Seminary?”
I look back at the year and am grateful that I was able to figure out more of how God has made me. I have been able to see my strengths and my weaknesses firsthand in a church setting. I feel much more aware of my “spiritual gifts”—far more aware than any “spiritual gifts test” could ever tell me.
I would recommend BBS’s M.Div. program to someone preparing for a life of service for Christ because the internship program is an excellent capstone. I love the flexibility of it, as you can tailor it to your passions and pursuits. After you complete your coursework, it gives a very practical experience.
The internship portion of the M.Div. program was helpful to me and the entire congregation. As a lead pastor already in ministry, it really helped me work through projects that needed to be done and forced me to invest the time and energy to complete them in a timely fashion. I learned a lot through the research of those projects. In addition, the Applied Bible Analyses were helpful in getting feedback from the congregation and Dr. Pyne on my preaching and delivery.
I would recommend BBS because it allowed me the flexibility to study while in full time ministry. I received solid biblical instruction that was immediately applicable into my present ministry context. In addition, the internship portion allowed me to combine my schooling with projects and preaching that the church needed.
My internship was a blessing to me because it gave me a chance to put the tools I gained in the classroom to use. Since we stayed in the same church we attended throughout our seminary years, I could hit the ground running. It was great to learn from so many men and women on staff at Grace and learn to work as a team toward one common goal. It was a blessing to be able to do so much of my ministry alongside of my wife and kids this past year!
I would recommend BBS because it puts an emphasis on the local church that can be missing at other seminaries. The required internship program really does set it apart!
Real-Life Experience – Every course I took was a hypothetical until my internship began. It was only when the rubber met the road for me that I began to see the importance and value of my classroom coursework. I can’t believe that it is possible to earn an advanced ministry degree and not be required to have an extensive and thorough internship experience. This seems like a recipe for young leaders to get the impression that reading a number of books and achieving good grades qualifies them to lead the people of God. This misnomer has produced many theologically-astute, experience-weak pastors whose first ministry position is full of missteps and avoidable errors that cost God’s kingdom precious resources. I am thankful for real-life experience that is built into my seminary requirements in order to set me for long-term fruitful ministry.
Structured Feedback – At the end of the day, experience is NOT the greatest teacher: EVALUATED experience is the greatest teacher! It is not until you take the experiences that you’ve had and run them through the grid of evaluation through the eyes of a coach that is more seasoned that your experiences become lessons learned. THAT is the brilliance of the BBS internship – it places students in intentional relationships with ministry “professionals” that can coach them through their blunders, missteps and successes. Having to intentionally ask, “What went well?” as well as “What did we miss?” is one of the strengths of a BBS internship.
Habit Development – Your first time through something is a vital time of habit development. Your first experience with almost anything colors your perspective, and all other experiences will be evaluated based on the grid you developed on your “first time around the block.” That is why it is so vital that students have the opportunity to have that first experience be one that is shaped by healthy cultures and experienced leaders. In my internship, I have developed habits (good ones) that will follow me for the rest of my ministry career–and I’m so grateful for that. I can’t imagine stepping out into ministry without first having had an opportunity to develop habits in a safe and controlled environment.
I would recommend BBS because of its MINISTRY FOCUS with SCHOLARLY RIGOR. Why choose a seminary that loads you with content but doesn’t require a supervised and structured ministry application training ground? I appreciate that at all times there has been an emphasis on the fact that the Bible is not simply a textbook, but a life-transforming book that should drive us to love God and serve people with our lives. The presence of an internship is, in my opinion, an illustration of the fact that the seminary puts its “money where its mouth is,” in regards to the importance of practical ministry training. Other seminaries might claim that practical training is important, but if they don’t require a supervised extensive internship, it’s hard to see in what sense they believe practical training is important.
Ultimately, I gained more tools for my ministry toolbox. Not just more tools, but quality tools to help me navigate the difficult situations that you do not see every week, but definitely in a year’s time. It was a safety net/trial run that allowed a church to observe and evaluate whether or not I could be a future pastor on staff and vice versa. I was able to grow under the leadership of two godly men who are incredible pastors, husbands, and fathers.
I would recommend BBS because training here will give you the appropriate tools to help you be successful in ministry. They will walk with you through every step of the process, always encouraging you and helping you to bloom where you are planted.
God blessed me with a very loving pastor, who not only encouraged me and built up my confidence but also challenged me to continue to grow and learn. He didn’t know it, but God was using his words and thoughts to teach me things I thought I already knew! A very wise man, and a very Godly man. God has given me a lot of opportunities to grow in my repertoire of service. I’ve been able to create a lot of things, and I have been able to work under others and to simply be a team member. God taught me the value of working with the body, that I am not required to do everything on my own. God knows our needs. Most often than not we think of this in terms of physical or financial needs, but God knows what we need on the spiritual level. During the last nine months He has been challenging me and convicting me in my heart over my actions, thoughts, and words. It’s been tough, but more and more I am able to take every thought captive towards Christ and live a life worth of the Lord Jesus Christ, all because of God growing me and strengthening me in my inner man.
I would recommend BBS because the professors are top notch. Yes they’re smart, but where they really shine is in their openness. They will take time to talk with you and give you mentorship/advice, and these guys are incredibly wise and caring. Not only that, but a lot of the classes are very practical, giving you information but then taking that right back to the local church; how would you respond to issues in the body, or with your own spiritual walk with God? Many of the classes offered take you through these things, challenging you and your beliefs and putting them to the backdrop of Scripture. That is something we ALL need. Lastly, you’ll make quality friends. It’s been great to spend all these years with other Christian men. I’m glad I have been able to live with them and learn and grow right alone with them, being encouraged, rebuked, and built up by them over the years. Fantastic.
There is a gap between the classroom and ministry, there always has been and will inevitably always be. This internship has helped me to ask questions, seek evaluation, and welcome corrective criticism which have all helped narrow that gap and ultimately allowed me to be more effective at ministering the gospel of Christ. This internship has strengthened my relationship with those that I work with on a professional level and also in a personal capacity because they brought a more formal piece and at a small church that can be very helpful and productive.
I would recommend BBS because the education, experience, and relationships that I have gained are invaluable and cannot be replaced by anything. I do not know where I would be without this solid foundation for ministry. There is a good deal of balance between classroom and ministry experiences and it has been a blessing to be equipped for ministry at BBS.
I had the opportunity to make significant changes to a ministry in our church that has always been a challenge for the church. I believe that the internship gave me the ability to invest the time and focus needed to change this ministry and set it on a course for success in the future. I was able to continue in my same ministry and was supported through the transition between full-time student and full-time pastor to just full-time pastor (with a M. Div. degree!). How can you go from learning something in seminary on Monday that I can use on Sunday to not learning anything on Monday in seminary anymore and still have something to teach on Sunday? I think the internship helped answer that question by providing a structure to operate from. A seminary professor would visit my wife and I a couple of times throughout our internship. We looked forward to those meetings and conversations and appreciated the personal attention that they provided.
I would recommend BBS because I experienced a solid combination of Biblical learning and practical ministry tools. I learned things on Friday that I could apply to my ministry that following Sunday, literally. I was challenge to think through big theological questions, and very small practical details. I learned about a wide variety of ministry areas and I have been able to use what I learned in those areas of ministry.
For me as someone who is looking forward to a full-time pastoral ministry in the future, the internship was a huge help in allowing me to see whether God was calling me to full-time ministry. God has made it clear that this is what He wants me to do. At the same time, God gave me a personal desire, love, and joy as I want to serve him my entire life.
One of the biggest blessings from the internship was the fact that I was blessed by Northmoreland Church these past nine months and will continue to be blessed by them in the future. The fact that the church has decided to take me under their wings and keep supporting me in my future ministry in Myanmar is surreal! This is something I did not even dare to hope when I first came to be an intern at NBC. I am so thankful that God knows best and has chosen NBC to be an instrument of blessing to me.
I would recommend BBS because the school has some of the greatest professors – professors who love Jesus and their students! I really appreciate the fact that most of the professors have served as pastors at some point in their lives because this really influences their teaching, their service and mentorship in such a positive way. I recommend the internship program as well as it gives a greater understanding of what it is like to be exposed to real world ministry.
My internship was a great blessing to me as it provided an intensive way to start putting to practice what I learned during in my coursework with the help of a mentor. My internship was a blessing because it provided new ways to grow as a ministry couple with my wife and grow in understanding each other.
Here’s why I would recommend BBS: As an indigenous pastor/missionary serving in my own country, it was really hard to find a seminary program that would fit my needs. I wanted a challenging seminary experience, and an M.Div. program where I would be stretched and did not require uprooting my family and leaving my church to go to a different country. BBS was the perfect fit! I loved that I could learn and acquire ministry tools while engaging and interacting with the realities of my ministry context and learn how those truths and tools can be better used right away. Moreover, the year-long internship provided a great way to fine-tune what I learned under the supervision and help of a mentor and the BBS faculty. BBS provided me with a Christ and church-centered rigorous-biblical academic experience in my ministry context.
Working with people and seeing the Lord in the process of transforming lives. Reliance on God. Throughout the many days and weeks where I felt overwhelmed with work, study, and life God always provided me with the time, energy, focus, ability, and desire to persevere. The ability to see outside the context of a book or classroom as I was exposed to the many joys and pressures of life in ministry. I’m thankful for my wife, family, and godly men who have supported and encouraged me.
First and foremost I’m thankful for my journey at BBS as the focus remained continually on Christ. My mind, heart, and faith has been strengthened through the biblical language classes, wrestling with theology, and the dedicated time of study as the Lord was preparing me for ministry. The application of classroom principles required during the internship has also proven to be significant in shaping my character and approach to ministry. Pursuing an M.Div. degree through online distance learning presents its own set of unique challenges, but I’m thankful for the opportunity that BBS has granted me to remain in ministry and with my family.