Regular coaching and mentoring
All interns should be assigned to both a supervisor who oversees their work and a leader who oversees their experience. For the work they are accountable to accomplish, interns need the management and teaching of a supervisor. This is the person they go to with questions about their projects and draw support from to finish their tasks. To ensure an excellent experience, an intern also needs a leader to help unpack all their lessons and struggles over the course of the internship. This allows a forum for questioning, asking “why is it done this way?”, and talking through failures, possible improvements, and successes.
In Action: At Saddleback, interns receive coaching from their supervisors and mentoring from the Intern Coordinator. It is often informal, but there are also times set aside for one-on-one interaction and discussion. It is healthy for the intern and healthy for the staff.
New and modified goals
One of the most fruitful opportunities for an organization is helping interns dream, pursue goals, and take the next step in the journey of their lives. Saddleback interns meet with the Intern Coordinator during the first week of the internship to discuss their expectations, personal and professional goals, and prayer requests. Throughout the course of the internship, both the supervisor and the Intern Coordinator come back to these expectations and goals to equip and encourage the interns to make them a reality.
In Action: When one Social Media intern came to Saddleback, he doubted his call to youth ministry. He expressed his desire to discern if youth ministry was what he would pursue for the rest of his life. The Intern Coordinator contacted the Junior High Pastor, someone the intern deeply admired, and set up a meeting between the two of them. That intern is well on his way to getting his answer to that question!
Interns understand when they are given something that matters. They understand even more when they aren’t. If you allow them to tackle significant work, they will usually rise to the occasion and exceed staff expectations. If they can recognize the importance of the assignment, and they see it having positive effects on the church even after their internship, interns will undoubtedly step up to the plate. They are waiting for someone to believe in them enough to give them something that matters. Equip them to succeed, give them a deadline, and they will deliver.
In Action: Last summer, Matthew, a Leadership Intern, expressed interest in our campus tours ministry. This ministry was long forgotten and almost ignored because no one on staff took ownership of it. Matthew took the tour material, condensed and improved the tour experience, recruited a team of volunteers to give the tours, and handed the simple management of the ministry off to a staff member. This will outlast his internship! Even though he’s no longer an intern, the tour ministry continues on.