Exceptional Pastoral Ministry Internships: CHBC, TBI, NECEP, and More

Exceptional Pastoral Ministry Internships: CHBC, TBI, NECEP, and More August 19, 2009

mark-deverThis is a post that needs writing.  So here we go: a primer on the best pastoral ministry internships that I am aware of.  Please note that I don’t know every detail of these programs; I may get something wrong.  Check the websites below for definitive information (and see a great resource by 9Marks on how churches can train pastors).

My personal suggestion for seminarians and pastors-in-training would be to couple your academic learning with an internship.  These are some of the best you’ll find. 

Without further ado, ministry internships for future pastors and leaders that I highly recommend:

The Capitol Hill Baptist Church internship.  Washington, DC.  In my eyes, with TBI (see below), this is the top of the line (full disclosure: I did it).  The program is nothing less than rigorous, the curriculum is expertly plotted, and the staff with which you work is incredible, including Mark Dever, Michael Lawrence, and Matt Schmucker.  This is a semester-long internship.  They offer a generous stipend, housing, and lots of time with supervisors and church members.  Ideal for single men.  If you do the CHBC internship, you’ll come away exhausted, enlived, and educated.  You will learn a ton about polity, ecclesiology, and preaching.  If those things don’t sound important to you now, rest assured that after the internship, you’ll think rather differently.

The Bethelehem Institute.  Minneapolis, MN.  Bethlehem Baptist Church has been shaking this up of late, and truth be told, I’m not exactly sure what form TBI is now taking in light of the MDiv being offered at Bethlehem College & Seminary.  TBI as it now stands is one year long and unaccredited.  At any rate, I have gotten to know many TBI grads through Southern Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and they are without fail godly, smart, and well trained.  How can you not be, when you’re training under John Piper and other highly faithful and gifted men at a great church?

The First Baptist Church of Durham internship.  Durham, NC.  At the church led by Andy Davis, a pastor worth attention and emulation, you can do a semester-long internship based on the CHBC program.  This would be ideal for Southeastern Seminary students, though if you want great training, you could consider moving to Durham, working part-time at Starbucks, and doing this excellent program.  Davis and Andy Winn, a great guy and faithful shepherd, have just started this internship up, and the opportunity is ripe for students/future pastors to go and get top-notch ministry training at a church I love.

The New England Center for Expository Preaching internship.  Hampstead, NH.  Led by Dave Ricard, a choice guy and a personal friend, this internship is ideal for men who want to commit to the hard labor of gospel work in New England.  Semester-long, with lots of preaching opportunities (unlike many of the other internships listed).  Dave has placed a number of his interns in New England churches, one of the most exciting developments in New England Christian circles that I know of.  Small stipend, and again, tremendous opportunity to listen to and preach sermons in the region that started it all in America.

The NETS Center for Church Planting residency.  Williston, VT.  Another excellent ministry training program, this one more intensive.  A two-year residency followed by training.  NETS sends out its planters with funding for church planting, which is terrific.  Grounded in great theology, an aggressive, Christ-centered approach, and led by Wes Pastor, one of the more dynamic guys you’ll meet.  For those who have a few years to train and want to do an intensive program, this is a great option, one that is yielding rich fruit from the hard soil of New England.

Lakeview Baptist Church internship.  Auburn, AL.  Led by Al Jackson, a renowned pastor, this program has turned out a number of really solid guys I know.  I can’t find a webpage on it (feel free to share it), but here’s a 9Marks profile of the program.  Contact the church for more info.  Great for SBC guys who want a staunchly biblical approach to pastoring.  Holistic, involves a serious commitment, and allows you to do seminary while you intern, which is unique and much-needed.

Here are some other programs that you should know about that also offer excellent ministry training (I think most are unaccredited):

RE:Train through Mars Hill Church.  Seattle, WA.  Just started, with a great faculty (Piper, Ware, and Driscoll, among others). 

Cornhill Training Course.  London, UK.  I know little about the specifics, but I have met a few grads and they are some of the sharpest minds I know when it comes to exegesis and preaching.

Simeon Trust.  Chicago, IL.  I don’t know a great deal about the rudiments of the course, but this is run by great leaders with international connections.  Seems very nicely plotted out, and it’s in Chicago.  Led in America by David Helm.

Sovereign Grace Pastor’s College.  Gaithersburg, MD.  I almost applied to the Pastor’s College some years ago because it seemed to combine an emphasis on head and heart so well.  With instruction by CJ Mahaney, Josh Harris, and Jeff Purswell, this is a great program to consider.  Nine months, I think.


As I said earlier, I’m sure I’ve missed some great internships–please share any you know of in the comments.  Here’s info on a few more from 9Marks, particularly some international opportunities.  You can go all over the world to train for pastoral ministry–maybe you should (particularly if you’re young and single).

And if you want to be a pastor, I think it is absolutely essential that you couple your formal training with a ministry internship in a program of the kind suggested here.  Oftentimes, you’ll learn as much from a great internship as you will from seminary.

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  • James Taylor

    Thanks for serving us with this helpful list of resources!

    I completely agree that it’s “essential that you couple your formal training with a ministry internship.” I’m currently midway through some years of formal training (at Oak Hill College, London) and the grounding I gained on a 2-year ministry internship is proving invaluable for understanding and making the most of the training I’m getting.

    I spent those 2 years on the Associate Training Scheme at St Helen’s Bishopsgate, a large church with a thriving ministry established by Dick Lucas in the heart of the City of London. The scheme combines teaching and training with practical service and ministry opportunities which I found to be a wonderful blend for growing in church-based, Christ-focused, Bible-teaching ministry. The scheme is open to internationals (indeed, recent years have seen a Frenchman, a Latvian, an Australian, a number of South Africans and even a few Welshmen!) and is for 1 or 2 years. What could be better? – learning Bible-handling and ministry skills from godly and experienced teachers and ministers in the context of a fantastic congregation and in the midst of one of the great and most diverse cities in the world! Find out more here: http://st-helens.org.uk/training_ministry/associate_scheme.php?e=135

  • Nathan

    Owen, what would you say to someone who looks at the 9Marks internship and says, “That just looks like alot of reading not real ministry.”


    • Nathan,

      I will not say a single word against the internship Mark Dever, CHBC, and 9Marks have pulled together. It sets a very high bar that we all strive to obtain.

      However, it is not designed for everyone.

      If God seems to be calling you to “something else” you might take a look at NECEP. Books are put away for a semester to focus on hearing (not reading) sermons by some of the best preachers of our day. Meanwhile each intern prepares and delivers sermons weekly, to real congregations throughout New England, that vary in size from church plants to multiple services.

      So much for the commercial.

      God Bless,
      Dave Ricard

  • Ben

    I’ve happened across your blog from links from another site…appreciate you recommending various Internships. However, I would offer the caution that the model of Internships as it is played out in the USA/UK/Australia isn’t always helpful to the local church. Sure, it’s helpful to the bigger churches (one of which I am a member in the UK) & also possibly to the individual, but it doesn’t strengthen the life of the smaller churches when potential workers (both “full-time” and lay) head away to work with the bigger churches with more formalised training strategies.
    It strikes me we have a flawed model of discipleship & in most cases, individuals should be discipled within their own church, rather than having to head away to sit under these “names” (in most cases) & have the credibility of better known churches on their CV/Resume.
    I am not against Ministry Training Programmes, but feel we have a flawed model that is very rarely critiqued.

  • You might check out the Pastor’s School at Sojourn Community Church:


  • Nick

    Another promising place to check out is the new seminary started at Heritage Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY. It offers a seminary education within the local church. I’m pretty stoked about the idea.

  • Nick

    http://www.mctsowensboro.org/ Here’s the link for the above mentioned.

  • josh s blake

    Anything in Indiana?

    • Doug

      ClearNote Pastors College in Bloomington, In. It is run by the Church of the Good Shepherd.

  • Miguel

    You know what would be cool, is a compiled list of training opportunities like these for music ministers. It could include New Life school of worship and others like that.

  • The Leadership Development Institute at Hope Community Church (just down the street from Bethlehem Baptist) in Minneapolis has an outstanding program:

  • Arvind

    Cornhill is not just in London but also in Glasgow, Scotland. I did the course in Glasgow and it was the best nine months of learning to teach and preach the Bible in a expository way. I highly recommend it!


  • In Australia the ‘Ministry Training Strategy’ prepares 100’s of people in ministry apprenticeships before going into formal theological training.
    A whole range of options is offered from pastoral to tertiary settings with a solid mentoring program.

    Was tremendously important for me.
    Check out: http://www.mts.com.au/

  • Hey, I just came from JT’s blog and thought I’d help clarify on TBI. There are a few different tracks you can do, track 2 is what you are talking about with the ministry training. It was a 2 year, unaccredited program with a 3rd year option, but now is changing to a 4 year MDiv program through BCS. It is currently accredited through some other schools, but is moving toward it’s own accreditation.

    TBI will continue to exist and perform it’s other functions (i.e. offering classes to the congregation), but track 2 will no longer exist.

  • Lord willing, I am hoping to do the internship at FBC Durham either during my last semester @ SEBTS or once I am finished.

    Andy Davis is my pastor and I agree: interning there would be a fantastic opportunity to learn from him and Andy Winn–even if you gotta move to get there!

    Thanks for the post, Owen.

    Kevin Schaub

  • Hayden Norris

    There is an excellent seminary run through 5 local churches connected by video conferencing called “The Expositor’s Seminary”


    There are campuses in Florida, Arkansas and Virgina. Check it out.

  • owenstrachan

    This is absolutely great. I love that people are sharing other programs. I hope readers of this post are taking notes from the comments about the other internships/training opportunities. I may try to add all of these in the future and repost it.

    So keep them coming if you’re reading this and know of more ministry internships.

    Also, please note that the Sovereign Grace Pastor’s College is open only to men in Sovereign Grace churches.

    Nathan, the CHBC internship offers a great opportunity to read and also to watch. You read and think and write a ton, but you also go to almost every single event and meeting at the church–elder’s meetings, staff meetings, wedding rehearsal, funerals, snow shoveling, time in Mark’s study, harassing Matt Schmucker, and much more.

    The CHBC internship does not try to give interns lots of opportunities to lead and teach. It’s a “learn and observe” internship. It is exhausting, more than you can handle, and exceptional.

    Dave Ricard is right–it’s not going to be for everyone. So it is wise to take a look at a wide range of internships before committing to one. Apply to several. If CHBC sounds like a bit much, look at FBC Durham and a few other options, for example.

    There’s no harm in learning from wise Christian leaders. I do sympathize with one of the commenters above–it would be ideal for tons of churches to have internships, especially if those internships were done really well and not at half-speed. Currently, there aren’t a ton of great ministry internships out there (hence the post), but in the future, let’s hope that tons of local churches do them, and do them with excellence.

    Thanks to all who have chimed in.

  • Matthew Rose

    So what about guys who are not so young, not so single and have five children? All the internships are great, but as I have looked into them seem to be geared to single men in their early to mid-twenties. Those outside of that demographic don’t have as many choices that I can see. Any ideas?