The Interning Experience

I asked one of our summer interns, Collin Bailis, to share a little bit about his experience with John and I this summer.  Collin is going to be (already is!) a Kingdom impacter.  He understands fully what it means to live your life as your mission.  Collin isn’t even looking to go into full time ministry.  He is entering his sophomore year of college as a Pharmacy major and wants to be not only a disciple of Jesus, but a disciple-maker wherever God takes him! He has a heart for God, for students, and to see people in general grow in their relationship with God. 

My name is Collin Bailis and I have been interning this summer under John and Mike. Mike asked me the other day to write a blog post about what It’s like to be an intern in student ministries so that the blog’s readers could get an idea of how to disciple an intern of their own. The more I thought about how I’ve grown this summer or how I came into the spot I’m in, the further back I had to remember.

I grew up in our church (RiverTree), so for me it’s like I’ve always been an intern, or at least that’s how I feel. It was fairly seamless for me. I was John’s student, then I was Mike’s student, and now all of the sudden I’m an intern.  At Rivertree, we teach our leaders a method we call 5-3-1. It basically means you get to know 5 students, spend time with 3, and invest in 1. Now as I look back on my friends I can see the 5, then the 3, and I was the 1 they invested in.

When it comes to discipling your intern, treat them the same you would treat one of your students that you are investing in. Spend time with them! Even when you think you’ve poured all you can into a student there is always something else they can learn or hear from you that will change their life drastically. Find time to meet with just your intern and challenge them in their thinking. Even after Jesus spent so long with the disciples, he still made sure to take the time to challenge Peter before he left. (John 21:15-19)

Mike does this thing with me, when he sees something on Facebook or on Twitter that relates to ministry he asks me, “What do you think about this…?” As I process and wrestle through communicating what I think, he tries to not give any response to what I’m saying and then when I’m done, he tells me what he thought when he first saw it and how it plays out in our role as leaders. This has been awesome for me because as Jesus followers, it’s important that we stick together, but that doesn’t always mean we think alike. It also gives me insight into how I could help other ministries that are growing and need direction.

There are plenty of logistics that come with having an intern too, and I’ve learned a lot about planning events and organizing groups. But the best thing for me so far has been the times when John or Mike and I have been alone and they challenge me. That’s what helps me grow. That’s what makes being an intern worth it for me. I’m a Pharmacy Student so I don’t intend on going into Student Ministries, but I do intend on being a missionary in my workplace. What I’ve learned this summer and how I’ve grown with John and Mike will stick with me through the rest of my life.

A word of advice I can give is don’t be discouraged. Sometimes it may seem like you work endless hours for a fun event and then you feel like no one is further in their walk. Let me assure you, every event that allows you to connect with students matters and all of your work is worth it. I know this first hand. So don’t be discouraged and keep challenging your students. God works in crazy ways, one of them could even be your intern someday.



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