At one point in the not-too-distant past, my part-time communications position (which is now full-time) got so un-part-time, that I started keeping track of my hours, determined to show my supervisor how crazy it had become. My life felt like it was going by fast—too fast. Some days, I was so scattered, I felt like I was unable to complete simple tasks, let alone full-out design and marketing concepts. I felt completely drained of any creative ability whatsoever.
Then one day, someone said a word that would change my existence. That word was “intern.” She had a contact who was a marketing professor at a local college. Long story short, I made that professor my contact and begin talking internships. After a very short wait and interview process, I had selected a candidate. I thought my biggest hurdle would be convincing my supervisors that it was a good thing to “hire” someone who isn’t a Christian (gasp, I know). The staff at our church is great. Everyone was 100% on board.
Five benefits of an intern:
- Investment: Investing in another human being, whether it be spiritually, professionally or personally, is one of the single most rewarding things you can do with your life.
- Perspective: No matter where your intern is on his spiritual journey, he brings an incredible outsider’s perspective. No more sitting around tables trying to guess what a non-believer or non-member thinks, just go ask! My favorite question for our intern is, “Is this weird?” A general outsider’s perspective is also great for finding mistakes and noticing things you miss because you see it daily.
- Energy/Passion: If your intern is passionate about his field, it will rub off on any staff member he comes in contact with, including you. When I saw how excited he was, I remembered why I love this line of work. My creativity shot through the roof. I was proud of my work again.
- Shake-Up: Your staff, if in their own Christian bubbles, will be forced into communication with someone who has a different lifestyle and/or background than them. That cannot be bad, any way you slice it. Suddenly, the staff are looking at their ministries through a whole new filter.
- Workload: This is a no-brainer, but you will be able to push some things off of your plate once your intern is established and comfortable.
My original motivation was selfish: “How can I use this person to make my life easier?” The ending result and impact on our team far outweighs any benefit for me. We aren’t done yet, but I have a feeling he is going to teach us more than we could ever teach him. He already has.
E-mail your local colleges and see if you can get on their job boards for next semester. And, no, it is not OK to ask for Christian applicants only.