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Pastoral intern summit

This update is from Carrie Smith, a GCI pastoral intern in the San Diego, CA, area.

On Friday, April 13, GCI pastoral interns, pastors and guests gathered in the hills of Flat Rock, NC (near Hendersonville) at the Bonclarken Retreat Center. This summit was the first of its kind, gathering interns and pastors from across the U.S. for a time of sharing and processing concerning GCI’s Pastoral Internship Program. Seven GCI-U.S. pastoral interns were in attendance: Skyeler Lewkowicz, Jason Frantz (who was ordained as an elder on April 8), Hilary Irusta, Aaron Armstrong, Joe Lamb, Stephen Dobritch and Carrie Smith. Also present were several supervising pastors and/or mentors.

God used our time together to help us remember where we started, embrace where we are, and look ahead to where he is leading. As interns embarking on new adventures, we wanted to know what to expect in pastoral ministry. We wanted to ask others who have gone before us what they did, learning from their successes and mistakes. The weekend was packed with stories of hope, encouragement and affirmation as we worked together to figure out where the intern program is headed.

During one session, interns and supervising pastors broke into two groups to discuss the internship program to date. When we came together to debrief, we found that both groups had been led by the Spirit to recognize the same challenges, areas needing improvement and areas of success. We all felt God’s presence as we laughed, talked, prayed, worshipped and even hiked together during the weekend.

A highlight of the weekend was affirming one another by pointing out how we see God revealed in each one. It was a weekend of living out the reality that is described in our Trinitarian theology – relationships with one another in the communion of our triune God.

One of the main themes emerging from the weekend was each person’s need for a Paul, Barnabas and Timothy. We all need someone to walk alongside us and keep us accountable by challenging us (a Paul), someone we can be honest and open with, who will listen without judging us (a Barnabas) and someone who we are walking alongside and encouraging along their journey (a Timothy). Everyone’s journey is different, but we still need to have the help and support of others beside us along the way.

Speaking as an intern, I am humbled to share this part of my story with so many Pauls and Barnabases, and I look forward to reaching out to my Timothys as so many have done for me.

Note: for additional information about the GCI U.S. Pastoral Internship Program, go to http://mindev.gci.org/internships.htm.