So, I’m doing an internship this semester.
At the church I go here at school— Bellview Baptist Church— I have built a pretty solid relationship with the pastor, Adam. So, this semester, I wanted some extra work and skills. Therefore, here I am— the Intern.
I absolutely love it. It’s been a great experience thus far. Being called to full-time ministry is a weird thing. A lot of people don’t experience it, even as Christians. And that’s okay. That’s normal. It doesn’t make me better or worse. It does, however, make me different. I just have a different mindset a lot. I’m not nearly the person I ought to be, but there are a few things that have really dominated my lifestyle these last 2 years or so. And they have just been reinforced by this internship. Let me share some of those with you.
When you’re a future pastor, people expect you to be one now. The congregation at Bellview is absolutely wonderful. I feel as if I’m a lifelong member there. I love the people, and I love to be in their presence. There is one member, though, that holds me to a higher standard. I don’t mind it. I take it as a challenge. She is intimidating, though. She asks the hard questions. She points out the tough things to hear. It’s just like this at school. People apologize for cussing around me. I have one good friend who literally calls me “Pastor Coop.” No one invites me to the parties. Everyone knows what I’m listening to. That’s neither here nor there. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to be a normal college kid. People don’t always see you like that. They see you as a pastor now. And let me just tell you… if I was a pastor now, then you better find a church to go to that isn’t mine. I have a lot of work to do.
When you’re a future pastor, you feel most comfortable around other pastors. Spending time with Adam is great. For one, he’s hilarious. For two, he and I are a lot alike. This is mostly due to the call to ministry. We see things the same. We process things the same. I notice things about sermons that he notices. I take certain things the way he takes them. And this isn’t limited to Adam. My home church pastor and I are almost like the same person in two different stages of life. When we talk, it’s a lot of, “Yeah, that’s me, too,” back and forth. One of my dearest friends, Thomas, has been called to the ministry. He and I share the exact same worldview almost 100% of the time. Every time we talk, it’s a lot of, “Yeah, man. I totally agree.” We see eye-to-eye a lot. That’s why we are best buddies. I try not to lose sight of the culture because I will need a good frame of reference one day. But I’m not going to lie to you… it feels a lot better to be hanging out with a spiritual/psychological doppelganger.
When you’re a future pastor, you have to watch what you say and do— all of the time. As a Christian, one is called to know Christ and reflect Christ 24/7. As a pastor, that never changes. The only difference is that other people think your lifestyle is supposed to be extra spiritual, even though that’s not really the case. I have found myself changing over the years. I watch and listen to a lot fewer movies, T.V. shows, and songs. I try my best to be productive and a hard worker. I say a lot less in class. I have become a lot less opinionated (believe it or not… that’s not a joke). I have been praying about and working on how I treat people. I have failed so miserably at all of these multiple times. But I find myself desiring to change them. This is simply because my witness is crucial. It’s hard to share the Gospel with anyone when they think you’re a chump. I try to be so cognizant of my witness because when someone asks those questions, what means more: that I know all the details or that my answer matches my lifestyle?
When you’re a future pastor, it makes a lot more sense to start on the easy things now than later. I have loaded my schedule down with commitments. I have begun to really get into reading (on book 4 since January 6th… yeah, I’m hyping myself up a little. I know, I know— humility). I have started fasting from things in my life— YouTube, social media, complaining, etc. I have started to really strive for better prayer in my life. I have asked so many people so many questions about my sermons. I have thrown my pride to the side and asked for advice from people. I have cried when I need to. I have started doing better with my finances. All of these things must happen eventually. I’m not going to make it harder on myself by doing this 3 years from now. Am I doing all of these flawlessly? Well,, absolutely not. No chance. But I’m doing them. That’s the goal for right now.
I love this internship. I love Bellview Baptist Church. I really, really enjoy doing the things I’m asked to do. And I would do so much more if it were available. I cannot wait to be a pastor one day. My soul burns with the desire to serve the Lord as the leader of a local church. The thing about being called to ministry is that you know you’re in God’s will for your life when you see things affirm your calling.
I’m telling you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I am exactly where Christ needs me to be at the moment.
I don’t really know what the whole point of this blog was. But, I’m currently balling right now. And it’s so great. And the Lord is ever-present. And the future is hopeful. And the Cross is before me.
And the tomb is empty.
Heavy is the burden. But He took it to the Cross.
2 thoughts on “When You’re a Future Pastor”
I felt like I was reading pages from my life. Reading this brought me to tears. Proud fails to really describe how I feel about you. Take up your cross, follow Jesus with everything that is within you, press toward the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus, and don’t look back. Paul said he counted it all joy. He didn’t say it was always joyful. Would love to come hear you preach.
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Thank you for this. And don’t forget that I’m at the spot I am because of people like you. Thanks for the encouragement! And if that’s the case, we will keep you updated on when the next time is that I preach.