Serving the Church and the World
Written by Todd McClure, WVBC Minister of Missions and Finance
In the opening chapter of his book, Let the Nations Be Glad, John Piper writes, “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” He goes on to write that worship is both the fuel and the goal of missions. It is the goal in that the aim is to bring people into “the white hot enjoyment of God’s glory.” However, it is also the fuel in that “passion for God in worship always precedes the offer of God in preaching. You cannot commend what you don’t cherish.” Therefore, missions begins and ends in worship.
As the 2020 internship programs kicked off, it was evident for the more than 25 BCM students that were gathered together that worship was both their fuel and their goal.
On January 31st, the next wave of interns gathered at Parchment Valley Conference Center to explore a variety of internship opportunities available to them this summer. Opening with a time of worship, the sound was very reminiscent of what could be heard on one of our college campuses where many of these interns gather weekly as part of Baptist Campus Ministries. Fueled by worship, the common response heard from each of these individuals was that they are ready to serve God wherever He would lead them this summer.
There are two types of internships that the West Virginia Baptist Convention (WVBC) offers. The first is through the Ministry Internship Program, which aims to identify and develop the next generation of church leaders by creating paid internship opportunities in the churches, associations, and ministries of the WVBC family. Now in its fourth year of existence, this program has already grown from the initial four interns in 2017 to the eighteen interns that served last summer in a variety of ministry settings – pastoral, youth, children, music, media, graphic design, etc. Another exciting note is that several of our previous interns are now serving on staff at some of our churches.
The second type of internship that we offer is through the Missionary Internship Program, which seeks to provide individuals with the opportunity to explore their long-term calling to missions by pairing them up with a long-term missionary partner somewhere overseas. These internships typically last between three to six weeks and are customized to the intern’s ministry interests. This year's group is preparing to go to the Philippines, Japan, Myanmar, Honduras and Mexico.
Of the more than 25 students that gathered, around 20 of them are expected to participate in the Ministry Internship Program, while six were accepted into the Missionary Internship Program. Funding for the former was made possible by a grant from the American Baptist Foundation, a grant from the Bowen Educational Trust, a gift from an individual, and budgeted WVBC funding. For the latter, individuals are currently raising their support, much like what would be required of them if they were full-time missionaries. This not only provides them with the opportunity to learn about support-raising, but it also gives them the opportunity to develop a network of individuals and churches who might be interested in supporting them if they continue pursuing full-time missions.
In addition to the time of worship, the training that interns were offered on the opening weekend was a discussion of “the call to ministry,” a challenge to create a “Personal Development Plan,” some instruction on communication, and they were able to choose two workshops of interest from the WVBC Annual Training Event. Missionary Interns have also participated in semester-long training via video conferencing, and Ministry Interns have been provided numerous books and will be assigned a mentor for the summer. At the conclusion of the summer, interns from both programs will gather once more at Parchment Valley for a debrief and cookout.
It is exciting to see how God continues to raise up young leaders from within Baptist Campus Ministries who are passionate about serving Him. The mission of BCM is "changing lives that change the world." These intern programs are an important way that we carry out that mission.