This report is from Jeff McSwain, national coordinator of the GCI-USA Intern Program.
We held our second annual intern orientation at The Reality Center (home of Reality Ministries) in Durham, North Carolina on August 17-21. Our prayer before and during the event was Come Holy Spirit! He’s always there, of course, but “showed up and showed out” as we like to say! It was a rich time—my favorite part was watching the three first-year interns interact with the “newbies.” As the number of interns grows, this interactive culture within the program will only be more powerful. Having seasoned ministry veterans on hand for teaching and support provided its own critical element to the mix.
We welcomed nine new interns into the fold this year from all corners of the country: Southern California, Sacramento, Portland, Boston, Princeton, and Durham. Most of them are preparing to start classes at Grace Communion Seminary, although we are admitting three interns this year who are students elsewhere: two at Duke Divinity School and one at Princeton Theological Seminary (these three were recommended to us by GCI pastors). The Lord is answering our prayers to raise up young leaders for his budding work in and through GCI! I am so thankful! Pictured above and below is the group at this year’s orientation. Also below are quotations from a few of the interns. What they say provides a good sense of what happened at the intern orientation.
They Said It!
First Year Intern: “The time to fellowship with the other interns was incredible. I loved learning about where everyone came from and where God is bringing them. One of my favorite things was simply playing games with everyone during breaks and at night. It is so life-giving to me to share life with others in such simple ways. That face to face time with the other interns was important for me in building a foundation for us to encourage each other as a team of interns, especially since we are all from a different corner of the US. Having the intern pastors participate in the conference was also a great blessing. It is encouraging to see leaders in GCI investing in my generation of the church.”
First Year Intern: “My favorite part from our time together was the people and the fellowship. Gathering a group together of young and more experienced people to work through Trinitarian theology and thought in a ministerial context was a powerful experience.”
Second Year Intern: “I am really blessed by the racial and gender diversity.”
GCI Pastor: “The greatest blessing was the diversity of folks present. God is surely a God of variety! Seeing so many young adults interested in ministry inspired this old man!”
First Year Intern: “I felt a sense of family, camaraderie, and common purpose among the group. The food was great! I’m SO grateful to GCI for treating us to such great meals. It was nice not having to think about what or where we were going to eat.”
Second Year Intern: “Music is such an integral part of our lives and so having the time set aside each morning to convene together and experience communion through music was precious to me.”
First Year Intern: “Worshiping together was, as always, a great blessing to me. The morning devotionals were uplifting and encouraging. Also, being able to discuss difficult issues, like ethics and policy, was very helpful. Hearing the gospel and talking about our identity in Christ was refreshing and uplifting.”