Rites of Passage – from Intern to Minister in Training

Two years ago we appointed a young man, Matt Rowe as our ‘intern’ for students and young adults with a view to testing his call to Baptist ministry. For his ‘commissioning’ service then I developed the following form words:-

Questions to the intern:

  1. The Apostle Paul said to Timothy: “Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple” (2 Tim 2.15) Do you promise to do study God’s Word so that you will be able to be a good teacher of young adults and students in your care?

  2. The Apostle Paul also said to Timothy: “Keep the Message alive” (2 Tim 4.5) Do you promise to do the work of an evangelist by sharing the Good News of Jesus in ways which are relevant to young adults and students of Chelmsford?

Questions to members and friends of the church:

  1. The Lord Jesus said: “Let me give you a new command: love one another” (John 13.34). Do you promise to show your love for Matt, not least by encouraging him and strengthening his faith in God?

  2. The writer to the Hebrews said, “Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel.. Contribute to the joy of their leadership” (Hebs 13.17). Do you promise to support the leadership he will give in his work amongst young adults and students ?

Prayer for the new intern:

As we come to pray for our new intern, let me read two further verses of Scripture.

  1. Jesus said: “Take a good look at the fields; the crops are now ripe and ready to be harvested” (John 4.35).

  2. The Apostle Paul said: “The Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead his Spirit fills us with power, love and self-control” (2 Tim 1.6).

Two years later on, I found myself having to develop another form of words to mark the fact that Matt’s call to ministry had been confirmed both by our church and by our local association of Baptist churches, and had been accepted by Spurgeon’s College as a ‘church-based’ student, and that with that change he had now become a ‘minister in training’. We were not ordaining him – that would only come at the end of his three-year course of training. We were, however, recognizing that God had called him to take a further step toward becoming an accredited minister of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. On this occasion we used a simpler liturgy:-

Three Scriptures:

Let us hear three Scriptures from Paul’s second letter to Timothy, then a young Christian

leader:

  1. “The Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control” (2 Tim1.7)

  2. “Do your best to win full approval in God’s sight, as a worker who is not ashamed of his work, one who correctly teaches the message of God’s truth” (2 Tim 2.15)

  3. “Keep control of yourself in all circumstances; endure suffering, do the work of a preacher of the Good News, and perform your whole duty as a servant of God” (1 Tim 4.5)

Two questions

One to the minister in training – and one for the members & friends of this church

  1. Matt, do you promise to give of your best, both in preparing for a life of ministry, as also through in serving God as a minister-in training here in this church?

  2. Do you, the members & friends of this church, promise to give every support to Matt in his new role as minister in training – to pray for him, encourage him, and to work alongside him?

Prayer for the new minister in training

Rites of passage are important. They mark people’s progress from one stage to another. In the case of Matt, it has been good to assure him of our prayerful support for the ministry to which God is calling him.

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