Intern Influx

Intern Influx May 26, 2006

I always thought summertime at church was a little slow . . . Wednesday night dinner cancelled because everyone is on vacation, adult Sunday School classes combined to give teachers a break . . . you know, that kind of thing.

May I say emphatically that this is NOT the case at Calvary?

Why it should surprise me that this church is out of the norm I have no idea. But every year around this time I feel myself gearing up for what I know will be a huge influx of energy, enthusiasm, youth and vigor that changes this time of the liturgical year to anything BUT ordinary when Calvary’s college interns make our community of faith theirs for the summer (I’ve included some pictures of these quality individuals here).

Because of two large summer camps Calvary helps run, for years now college students have come to spend their summers working with kids from the inner city. Some of our interns come independently, having heard of the programs at Calvary. This year we have a good number from Student.Go.

Over the years hundreds of college students have had their first experience riding public transportation, talking with a homeless person, navigating dangerous neighborhoods and worshipping at a strangely traditional yet wildly NON-traditional Baptist congregation when they’ve packed their bags and come to spend their summer ministering in DC alongside the community at Calvary.

Inevitably these interns bring with them ideas of how the world should be . . . and inevitably we work together to learn that the world is lots bigger than we thought. Almost without exception we hear that living and working in our community changes them . . . changes everything about how they view the world.

Experiences that broaden vision and hearts . . . these are wonderful gifts. But the reason my heart is beating a little faster this time of year is because I have been around long enough to know that the gifts these interns bring to us . . . to our community of faith . . . well, these gifts are often beyond measure.

The interns bring us youth–so much youth it is bursting out of the stained glass windows and 150 year old brick of our sanctuary. They bring energy, vitality, enthusiasm . . . (remember those?) . . . emotions we felt somewhere along this strange journey of faith but sometimes forget. They call our hearts and our minds back again to the vision and future of our congregation, two things we must always keep in the forefront of our prayers as we work to be the presence of Christ in this place.

And into this historic old edifice they bring the reminder that God is always busy doing something new, even when we get stuck in doing things “the way we’ve always done them”.

I know we’ll probably have some homesick interns; one or two will find big city life intimidating and overwhelming. Usually there are a few who wonder about this strange Baptist church with a woman pastor and all these different kinds of people in the pews. But all of these things are gifts from one diverse group to another, shared back and forth until somehow, over the course of one short summer, we become community . . . together.

I am looking forward to the influx of interns coming our way because it seems to me that along with them also comes the influx of God’s Spirit, offering all of us once again the incredible opportunity to be changed.

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