My wife and I were looking back through some of our old youth ministry photos the other day. It is always fun to remember old faces and stories while realizing how blessed we have been by so many rich relationships.
As we continued to flip through the pics, laugh and reminisce, I noticed a trend…it is a trend that continues and is often what makes youth ministry so great. It is the ridiculous stuff that interns do in the name of character development, self sacrifice and a downright desire to try to impress everyone around them.
Two specific incidents illuminated this insight:
- When I was an intern, we took a group of high school students down to Tijuana, Mexico to work in the community and build homes. My youth pastor/mentor/boss (and now one my best friends) was Chip Johnson. After working all day on a hot construction site, we found out that a couple professional Lucha Libre (no, not Nacho Libre) wrestlers were in town and willing to do a mini show for our youth group. Long story short, one of the wrestler’s couldn’t make it and naturally, who is the guy that is thrown into the ring to “wrestle” this professional bearer of death and pain?? Yes, me, the intern…see pic. You may notice Chip standing on the ropes laughing hysterically. Next, you can see the position I quickly ended up in. It was extremely painful, but no intern is going to show pain while the whole youth group and youth pastor are surrounding.
- Fast forwarding, we ran into a picture of two interns we had the opportunity to have on staff with us for a time. My wife is a professional esthetician (does facials, waxing, massage, etc…) and decided to bring her wax pot on the trip for a little midnight entertainment. Of course, once the wax is warm and word passes that there might be some uni-brow waxing at the expense of some poor sucker, we all know someone is going under the wax knife. Still recovering with nightmare’s of my intern/Luche Libre body slam days, I see the bright eyed intern emerge from the pack and sit in the throne of royal hair removal. Moments later, his eyes are watering in pain and all the students are laughing hysterically, while his smile is filled with pride and achievement.
Interns are the best. They represent youth ministry of the future and they teach us how to embody selfless service, optimism and genuine love for teenagers. They haven’t been “beat down” by difficult parents or board members and they carry a glow of hope that stems from their desire to give their lives to the people they love most…teenagers. Further, they are often willing to do many of things that create lifelong memories and fuse together the minds and hearts of a community…even if it is wrestling a Luche Libre or getting a brow wax.
I don’t think there is an official intern appreciation day/week/month, but that doesn’t mean we can’t create an unofficial one today. If you have been positively impacted by an intern at some point (whether you are a youth pastor/student/parent), send them a note or buy them a meal. Maybe even share a story or offer a honoring word below, so we can all be encouraged by the stories of these often unsung heroes.
Cheers to interns!!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.