Christian internships often prepare both young people and adults for the possibility of work in some type of ministry, including church ministries, chaplaincies, and missions. In addition to these internships, there are also several para-church organizations, such as publishers and camps, that offer Christian internships for those who wish to work in a field that is not directly related to ministry. Some of these programs are connected with an educational program and may be required of students who are in the process of completing an academic degree.
Many churches and denominations seek to recruit new ministry leaders and missionaries. One way of doing this is offering people the opportunity to participate in Christian internships that allow them to try this type of work for a short period and in a structured environment. While these are often unpaid internships and the intern may even have to raise funds for his own support, these programs can offer a great opportunity for individuals to explore their vocational goals and to gain real-life experience in ministry.
Other Christian internships provide opportunities for those with secular vocations to work in a Christian-based business or organization. For example, an aspiring journalist may benefit from completing an internship at a Christian magazine publisher. Other common examples of this type of internship include working at a church-affiliated summer camp or campground or completing a social work internship at a Christian social service agency or charity. These may be paid internships and in some cases can lead to the intern receiving an offer of employment from the intern site.
Seminaries and Bible colleges typically require students to complete Christian internships as part of their academic program. These internships may take place at a local church, ministry, or chaplaincy base and are typically matched to the student's abilities and career goals. For example, students who wish to become ordained ministers must typically complete one or two internships in parish ministry. Those who wish to become chaplains or pastoral counselors will typically need to complete an clinical pastoral education internship program in a hospital or other health care site.
Locating suitable Christian internships can be a challenge, though there are several resources available to those who are interested in these programs. Those who are in school will usually be directed to their field education or career development office, where notices about programs are typically available. Other good sources of information include denominational publications and websites.