College & Young Adults
Student.Church provides congregational internships to students who are interested in a deeper experience of church life or pursuing a call to ministry.
Interns are mentored by seasoned ministers as they explore the breadth of congregational ministry through a variety of learning experiences.
Here you will find more information about the application process for students, the role of congregations in the support and nurture of interns, as well as CBF’s resources for walking alongside both the student and church throughout the internship.
Length of Internship: 10 weeks (this includes a required orientation and debriefing) starting mid/late May and ending early August.
Orientation: This event builds community among all CBF Student.Church and Student.Go interns, while also training and preparing interns to enter into their internship equipped with new skills and resources. Orientation is required. Orientation is tentatively scheduled for May 24-26, 2022, and will be held in person in the Atlanta, GA, area.
Debriefing: Students end their internship at a formal debriefing typically held at a retreat called Selah Vie. This experience is a necessary part of the process of transitioning back into student or work life. Selah Vie is being planned as an in-person event for the first week of August 2022.
Summer Finances: Student.Church interns are paid a minimum of $1200 (1/2 from church internship site and 1/2 from CBF). If the student serves in a CBF/GA church funds are added for the student from CBF/GA. In addition, CBF covers travel expenses to and from Orientation and Debriefing at Selah Vie and all costs associated with these events (if held in-person). The host church/site also covers housing (if needed) and expenses for all church-related activities while on the field.
Application Timeline: The application period for Summer 2022 opens November 29, 2021 and will remain open until all positions are filled.
Intern Application Information
Student.Church interns are characterized as:
Committed followers of Jesus.
Students enrolled in an undergraduate program and have completed at least one year.
Graduate students (including seminary students) enrolled in a master’s level or higher degree program.
Individuals who may not be enrolled in college but are at least 18 years of age and exploring other vocational opportunities through the military, etc.
Individuals considering ministry as a life calling who would like to try on a ministerial identity.
Individuals who love the local church and want to serve others and gain leadership experience.
How do I apply?
Begin by reading the Student.Church Internship Guide for more details about the program.
Complete the Student Application Form. If you have any questions, please email our team.
If you have already approached a church about serving as their intern, you will be asked to include their information. If you have not identified a church in which to serve, you will be asked to specify in general your geographical, demographic and ministry preferences in terms of church placement. See list of current known opportunitites below and check back frequently for updates as new church applications are received.
Ask three people to serve as references and have them complete the Reference Form.
The references should be:
- someone who has observed you in a ministry setting (ex. previous supervisor, campus pastor or youth group pastor)
- a trusted adult (ex. previous boss, internship supervisor or deacon at church)
- someone at your educational institution (ex. professor, advisor, staff or Resident Director)
Church Application Information
Student.Church congregations are characterized as:
Churches that affiliate with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship through financial contributions, support of global mission personnel, participation in CBF events, programs, etc.
Churches that are seeking a relationship with CBF by actively engaging in conversation with CBF global staff, state and regional staff, or field personnel.
Churches that are looking for an opportunity to mentor young adults as they grow personally and professionally.
Churches that are already in conversation with a student to serve as their intern.
Churches that are open to having an intern placed in their setting.
How do churches apply?
Begin by reading the Student.Church Internship Guide for more details about the program.
Whether you are a returning or new applicant you will need to apply via the Church Application Form.
If you have already approached a young adult about serving as your intern, please include their information. If you have not identified someone to serve as your intern, you will be asked to specify in general what you are looking for and the type of work the intern will be doing.
Churches may apply to host only one intern through the Student.Church program. After the deadline has passed and contingent on fund availability, additional interns may be requested/funded.
If you have questions about the internship, contact our team .
The Power of Listening and Sharing Stories-Megan Turner Doud, CBFGA Coordinator for Young Baptist Ministries
When Jody and I began having conversations about a year-long theme for CBFGA for 2023, “Story” was the first idea that came to my mind. From my time working in the local congregations, serving on the Ministries Council and Discovery Team for CBF, and being a part of the Youth Ministry Network board, storytelling has been a part of each conversation, of visioning, and of dreaming.
In Between the Listening and the Telling…How Stories Can Save Us, Mark Yaconelli discusses the importance of being able to tell your story. He says: I’ve observed how speaking our stories can liberate us individually and collectively — at times transforming residents into neighbors, enemies into friends, and towns into communities. In doing this work, it has become apparent to me that the power of story is the power of relationships. In other words, giving testament to our experience generates meaning when it connects us to people, the earth, the sacred, our pasts, and our own inner gifts and wounds. Through this work I’ve come to believe that all human divisions, both within and between us, can begin to be healed through listening and sharing stories…storytelling is the most intimate form of communication. It’s a way of inviting the listener to enter into what we have suffered, and what we have overcome. When we listen well to another’s story, it blooms within the body, creating an intimate connection between teller and listener —heart races, eyes well with tears, the belly shakes with laughter. And when we share something we have lived, a joy or suffering from in our own lives, the listener is invited into our very being: to see what we have seen, hear what we have heard, and touch what we have known…the story binds us to one another.
In this next year you will hear and experience CBFGA’s story. Our events for the year will be structured around our year-long theme. You will read and listen to our own fellowship’s story and how your story, our story, and God’s story impact each other and our communities.
- Our youth at their recent fall retreat learned what it means to live into their true story by “Being Real” and finding their true authentic selves in who they are, who they are in relationships, and who they are in their authenticity in their faith.
- The children at their January retreat will learn about different “Stories in the Bible” and how they can relate to and live into the story God has called them to be a part of.
- Also in January, young adults will travel to the mountains for a Young Adult Summit to gather with other CBF young adults in hopes of connecting and hearing each other’s stories and how God weaves our stories together.
- College students will travel to Washington, D.C., in March to be a part of Advocacy in Action. These students will have opportunities to learn from others’ stories and discover how to advocate for those who can’t always speak up for themselves in this world.
- Lastly, our youth will come together for a weekend of serving during Mission Madness in Columbus. They will spend a weekend in April in a new community, learning what it means to be the hands and feet of God in this world that needs love, compassion, and a listening ear. I hope that 2023, for you, provides opportunities to reflect on your own story. I hope you allow space to really see the person in front of you, not looking past and missing the opportunity to hear someone else’s story. And my prayer in all of this is that you see God at work in you, in others, and in our CBFGA communities.
Does Theological Education Have a Future?-Greg DeLoach-Dean of McAfee School of Theology
To live a life that matters one needs a theology that matters, which is what must be cultivated with students, educators, churches, and other partners of the faith.
The future of theological education — what an audacious and presumptuous title!
When I was a kid growing up in rural Middle Georgia, I had no idea what a seminary was, let alone the purpose of one. When I told my pastor that I felt called to serve the church as a minister, he explained that I would need to go to seminary. All I knew was that it meant an additional three years of school after college, and that sounded dreary! Nevertheless, there was no question that if I wanted to serve the church as a minister, I had to go to seminary. And I am glad I did, because it is still changing my life.
Does Theological Education Have a Future?
There are many questions concerning seminary education and the future of theological instruction. Is it necessary? Is it still relevant? What exactly is produced? What does it contribute to the greater good? According to the Association of Theological Schools, enrollment in seminaries and theology schools has remained flat since 2005. In the last decade alone nine seminaries have closed, and many more are in peril (https://www.christiancentury.org/article/features/imagining-futuretheological-education).
Others have written about the formidable challenges impacting the future of theological education, including:
- Dwindling attendance in churches and by correlation fewer young adults expressing an interest in congregational ministry
- Perceived irrelevance or inadequacy of practical theology to address societal as well as congregational needs
- The cost of theological education, although not as expensive as many other disciplines, is nevertheless considered prohibitive to many
- Residential education — a person relocating to attend a seminary or theology school — is increasingly not sustainable or always practical
- The is integration of denominational networks, and with it the support systems that helped nurture callings and vocational formation
- The length of time to complete a Master of Divinity degree — typically three years, if studying full-time.
Of course, these challenges also bring exciting opportunities. Technologies are helping bridge the gap between location and education, and with them opportunities to prioritize communities of faith where calling and vocational formation often take place. Reimagining theological education alongside congregational ministry in its many expressions is centered on hopeful, future affirming faith.
The Quest for the Sacred
While I have more questions than answers regarding the future of theological education, I do have a few observations. There continues to be strong and robust interest in things that are sacred and spiritual. Just a few years ago, The Pew Research Center published an article noting more and more Americans identify as spiritual but not religious (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/09/06/ more-americans-now-say-their spiritual-but-not-religious).
In my own experience, I see much energy in creating space and opportunities to explore mystical ideas, ethical problems, and in cultivating a life of meaning that matters. One small example: I was once part of a group that met in a cigar lounge — not exactly typical space known as sacred. Men and women of very diverse backgrounds, traditions, and beliefs gathered to talk, explore, and question. Amidst this diversity, all are seeking to construct lives that matter. This happens in other places, too, like breweries, pubs, coffee houses, as well as in sanctuaries, Sunday school classes and choir lofts. Churches must continue to reimagine how to “be church” in the future, but rest assured, “the” Church will go on.
Innovation, Dialogue, and Formation
I am not sure what the future of theological education specifically will look like, but I do hope it will continue to search for innovative ways to have meaningful conversations about things that matter. The world needs such conversations. Currently there are theology schools exploring inventive solutions. For example, the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky (BSK) recently received a grant for a project to help nontraditional students gain theological education while working in church settings. This seminary seeks to increase educational access for those already serving in ministry positions without requiring them to leave those posts and relocate for seminary.
This is not unlike what is taking place at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, through the newly established Center for Calling and Vocational Formation (CCVF). The Center will undertake a two-fold commitment towards the vocational formation and calling experience: 1) to students preparing for their calling, and 2) to the wider Christian community through understanding and applying their calling. The CCVF will focus on the whole person with information and formation, not just what you know, but who you become. As such, the expectations are curricular and co-curricular for students and the wider Christian community engaged in lifelong learning. Inspired by the words attributed to Howard Thurman, the CCVF is asking, “What makes you come alive?”
Reimagining the Learning Community
Theological education will need to move from academy centric, to person- and congregation-centric, and discover how it can meet learners serving in their particular contexts.
Places like McAfee and BSK are trying better to understand and identify life-long learners responding to God’s call and needing to be better equipped to live out their calling. Theologian Miroslav Volf writes: “Academic theology ought to be…about what matters the most — the true life in the presence of God.” He continues, “the purpose of theology is to discern, articulate, and commend visions of flourishing life in light of God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ.” (For the Life of the World). To live a life that matters one needs a theology that matters, which is what must be cultivated with students, educators, churches, and other partners of the faith.