In 2008, Saddleback Church launched an internship program aimed at developing young leaders for ministry by helping them discover career interests that God blessed them with.
The internship program is administered by the Leadership Academy, which offers four different study tracks shaped around four different learning experiences. One of these tracks is the short-term, four-month internship for college students or recent graduates and is called Discover.
The Discover intern program began its first semester with just ten interns, and now, three years later, nearly 50 students are part of the summer 2012 internship. These interns have been at work now for nearly two months and have been making a big difference.
As an intern himself, Kyle Cleveland created the Discover internship program so students who could not participate in the then long-term program could learn, find direction, gain leadership skills, and work experience.
“I’ve seen this internship program change the course of people’s lives,” said Kyle. After his own internship, he went on to serve in the Office of the Pastor, and is now working on the Global PEACE Team as a 12 Cities Location Leader and pastor.
Johnny Montgomery, the current Intern Coordinator at Saddleback Church, took over the position this year is very proud of how many interns were able to join the Saddleback family this summer. “Our goal is to max out the number of interns possible for each team around campus,” said Montgomery. “We hope that each student is impacted by the people around them and they are able to glorify God in their work.”
The internship offers a practical, challenging experience that will develop, equip, and empower students to become the best in their field for the global glory of God. Students can apply for the internship, gain academic credit, get exposed to a large church organization, and gain real experience while working on projects for a team. Interns have to complete a minimum of 15 hours a week, have some prior skill in their chosen specialty, and be a committed Christian with the desire to observe and contribute to work in the church.
Brannon Shortt, a college student at Bryan College in Tennessee, is an intern who is experiencing just that. “When trying to make things work to live out here, every door I thought would close, opened,” said Shortt. “I couldn’t be more happy that they did. I’ve had one of the best experiences of my life being able to fuel my ministry, create relationships that will continue the rest of my life while also have my own personal growth.”
Heather Leith and Bree Schiff both work on the student ministries team at Saddleback and said their experiences have been phenomenal. “It’s been a great experience to minister to students but also further my career,” said Leith. Leith helped start a magazine for the High School Ministry which will contain information about HSM, events they put on, entertainment pieces, articles on spiritual life, interviews and student testimonies. Schiff said, “Everyone is so intentional. They really care about us as people, and not just what we can do for them.”
Would you like to hear more about some of our interns stories? Then, stayed tuned for our upcoming intern profiles that will tell the story of current interns and previous interns whose internship led their career path in ministry. You can visit the Discover page if you are interested in learning more or want to apply to be an intern.