Church Internships Help Young Adults Build Leadership Skills

For the past seven summers, young people from Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Mich., have developed leadership skills and served their community—all while taking home a paycheck.

Twelve high school students, three college students, and one international student are a part of this year’s 10-week, part-time internship program. The goal, said Daniel Harris, the church’s ministry director, is “to build into the lives of young people and to give them experience in the ministry of a local church.”

Working in teams, the interns implement a backyard kids’ club, bringing activities and Bible lessons to nearby neighborhoods. They also run vacation Bible school for 70-80 middle schoolers. College interns even lead younger interns on a mission trip. On Sundays, the group works in the nursery and pre-school classrooms. 

“They give us a budget at the beginning of the summer and teach us how to stay on budget,” said Ashley Modrzynski, 20, who will earn college credit for her internship. Modrzynski said leading the mission trip was “my first time leading anything, really. I’ve grown a lot in my leadership skills and I’ve grown in my faith.”

Daniel Walters, 17, a second-year intern, has enjoyed building stronger relationships with neighborhood children he met last year. The experience helped him “slip out of my comfort zone and start a conversation,” he said.

“We try to give [interns] a wider experience of ministry in the church,” said Harris. “We have a day designated for care ministry, and we go on care visits to the elderly. We’ll have a ‘Mission Focus Friday,’ where they learn about the local and global mission outreaches at Calvary.”

The internship helps students become more invested in the life of their church and learn what goes on behind the scenes. Walters admires “how closely [staff] are connected to one another and what a great working environment that is,” he said. “It’s cool to see that as a high school student.”

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