CYF Internships: A Snapshot

In the past 6 weeks or so, we’ve done an online survey of Network members asking about how people use interns in their children, youth and family ministry.  The results of these surveys, while I wouldn’t call them ‘statistically significant,’ have been interesting and seemed worth sharing.

Please note that this survey was not referring to or asking about seminary interns.  Rather, it was college-age young adults interning in congregations under the supervision of a children’s or youth minister, or perhaps a pastor.

We had a total of 16 people respond to the survey, and of those, 12 indicated that they do use young adults in this capacity.

  • 8 of the respondents indicated that they take on one intern at a time.  Three indicated that they use two interns, and one indicated that they use four or more at a time.
  • We recognize that internships are usually seasonal.  But the results seemed more “consistant” throughout the year than we expected.  8 indicated that they would use interns in spring, winter or fall.  Only 6 use them in the winter and two indicated that they take “J-Term” (a January term that many of our smaller colleges have as a part of their academic calendar) interns.
  • Of the 13 that responded, 9 had paid internships, while four had unpaid internships.  An additional four didn’t respond to the question.
  • Of the 8 with paid internships, there was, as you might expect, some variation in how much they were paid.  4 paid between $2500 and $3000 for a summer.  One paid $1500 for the summer.  Two congregations paid by semester, one paying $500 and the other paying $2000.  One congregation paid $12/hour.
  • We asked with what ages interns would work.  10 responded sr high, 9 jr high and 7 indicated elementary age young people.

Again, not scientific, but interesting.

It seems like if we want to grow the level of leadership working in congregations throughout our church, we need to be intentional about leadership development.  We need to be looking at how we go about identifying individuals with gifts for ministry, drawing them into preparation and training, and supporting them as they begin to serve.

I’d love to see the number of congregations who make use of interns, both to serve young people and to develop strong leadership, increase over the next few years.

In the last few months we launched as a resource for high school and college-age young people as they discern a future in ministry.  Yesterday we added a page to the site that is a directory of congregations who offer internships for young adults.  You can get to it both from the “College” page in, or on the pastors/youth minister’s/volunteers resource page.

If you’d like to have your congregation listed in this directory, e-mail me.  In the meantime, please continue to encourage your young people to think about ministry as vocation.

Blessings on your ministry!


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