Peter Stonecipher / September 6th 2015 / Summer pastoral internship update

It’s hard to believe that my ten weeks as an intern at Gulf Coast are coming to an end. As someone who plans to continue in full-time ministry for as long as the Lord allows, this internship has been invaluable for me. There are many ways that I’ve benefitted from this internship, but I’ll focus on three areas that have been especially helpful for me: the variety of my experiences, the amount of teaching opportunities and the access to the vocational elders.

Since I’ve worked in a number of different ministry environments over the years, I’ve been aware that people in ministry are expected to “wear a lot of hats”. It was good for me to see this reflected in the things I was exposed to this summer at Gulf Coast. This summer I was able to observe or participate in a wide variety of activities: one-to-one meetings over meals, campus maintenance, business meetings, church finances, responding to pastoral concerns, Vacation Bible School, preaching preparation, pastoral luncheons, meetings with ministries the church supports, teaching preparation, Sunday song selection, Friday morning prayer and staff meetings.

I’m extremely grateful for the number of teaching opportunities I was allowed this summer. One of the reasons my wife and I decided to settle down at Gulf Coast was the quality of teaching that happens here. I fully understand that teaching in the church needs to be closely guarded for the sake of those listening and for the glory of God. I feel honored that I was not only able to teach at Vacation Bible School and in a three week Sunday night series, but also from the pulpit on a Sunday morning. I received a lot of help specifically from Daryn on my teaching at VBS, from Todd on my Sunday night series and from Todd and Jerry on my Sunday morning message. I’m thankful for the help these men provided in honing my ability to understand the word and how to teach it well in different environments.

It’s really hard to quantify what I gained in this last area, but I think that in the long run I’ll benefit the most from the constant access I had to the vocational elders during these ten weeks. Getting to see Daryn, Jerry and Steven “do ministry” for 25 hours each week was incredibly beneficial for me. It was beneficial to see how these three men used their specific giftings to minister to the body of Christ. It was beneficial to see how these three men with their different giftings are able to work alongside one another as partners in the gospel. It was beneficial to learn from the vast experience represented by these three men.

Overall, this was a summer well spent. Thank you for this opportunity to grow and mature in my ability to be a minister of the gospel. Also, thank you for supporting me financially during the summer. Gulf Coast has always shown a concern for me and Allison not only spiritually, but also practically.