Established in 2006, the Vision and Call internship program is built on the belief that life’s longer lessons, the ideas that shape commitment and souls, are often best learned through an apprenticeship experience and worked out through a community of mentors and peers. Each internship experience is expected to incorporate six essentials elements. In a special blog post series, current Vision and Call organizational leaders share their insight into the value and importance of these essential elements.
Today’s guest post is by Warren Eng, Site Coach Administrator, Jubilee Reach. Warren shares insight regarding Essential 5 – Incorporating Significant Ministry and Work Experience.
“And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.”
– Jim Collins
When we hear the word “intern,” there are many in the professional world who conjure up images that are less than flattering.
There can be a perception that as recent graduates (or soon-to-be graduates), interns have no “real” experience and therefore do not bring substantial value to an organization. That the office intern’s days should be filled with easily executed tasks and busy work like filing, making coffee and answering phones. In many respects, interns are treated as occupying this unique middle ground between being a student and being a professional. As though they need to be doing some form of work, yet until they are hired to a permanent staff position, they are unable to contribute in a meaningful way to the organization.
This perception is terribly short sighted and inaccurate.
As graduates of a four-year degree program, emerging professionals entering an internship are simply stepping into the first phase of their professional growth and development. As all professionals, these individuals have the ability to make a significant contribution to the success of an organization based on their knowledge and life experience. But, given the professional setting is a relatively new area for them, they need support from leadership in identifying how to apply their skills in an impactful way.
This is why one of the foundational essentials of the Vision and Call Internship Program is the inclusion of Significant Work and Ministry Experience.
At its core, an internship is an opportunity for an emerging professional to identify where they are called to in their professional path. Years of study in the classroom can help guide this path, but it is not until a student is brought into a professional setting and applies those academic principles to real life scenarios that they can truly determine where their talents and passions intersect. We have all heard stories of individuals who spent years studying for one career or another, only to immediately become displeased with their choice once they begin practicing in the real world.
This is why significant experience is so vital to the internship process. By engaging in meaningful work that directly impacts the success of the organization, rather than being relegated to a laundry list of menial tasks, the intern has the opportunity to really understand what this line of work is about and how it can impact their lives. As an example, at Jubilee REACH, interns begin working almost immediately in the Bellevue School District where they are engaging directly with elementary and middle school students. In this scenario, interns get to see the very real impact of their work on a life as well as how their gifts and contributions help serve the broader community ecosystem.
For those in the faith community, this deep experience adds an extra layer. It allows each intern the opportunity to consider their own connection between their vocation and their faith. To ask the question if the work they have chosen is what they truly feel they are called to do or if it is simply a job they are doing for a paycheck.
Finding one’s calling requires several elements and factors which are all part of the Vision and Call process. Having the opportunity to truly dig into real, meaningful work and engage in the mission of an organization allows the individual the ability to see how their contributions will impact the community and serve their own personal calling in life.