Your Ministry Internship: 3 Common DIY Mistakes That Cost Money

Ministry leaders tend to be more entrepreneurial than most. And ministry leaders who take on the task of leading ministry internship, church residency, and Christian gap year programs tend to be even more do-it-yourself! We applaud your particular set of skills and passions. But there are some things you should stop trying to do yourself. These things are costing you money and, more importantly, they keep you from focusing on what you are really great at. Here are a few common examples:

Being Your Team’s IT Professional 

Software is expensive. But it’s also a necessity in this modern world. You will need some kind of learning management system to keep your ministry interns, faculty, and learning processes aligned. Designers of these programs are often aiming for larger schools when they plan the pricing of their products. That can leave smaller programs like yours paying more than you can afford. 

This is why many ministry leaders make the mistake of creating their own learning management system. Typically, that means attempting to find and integrate a patchwork of free and/or outdated platforms that were never designed to do everything your training program needs for them to do. Inputting data and correlating that data across multiple softwares that don’t like talking with each other can create more headaches and waste more time than you can afford. 

This is why we make sure every one of our frontline ministry partners have access to our enterprise-level learning management system. And we configure their own unique branded space in the LMS, then transfer their existing in-house courses, content, and activities into it. This lets you focus on running your program rather than just your IT department, without giving up what’s uniquely you.

Being Your Ministry Internship’s Curriculum Creator and Designer

As you plan through the content needs of your ministry interns, you will often come to a point where you realize they need something outside of your team’s expertise. Maybe you want your students to have some basic skills in apologetics, biblical languages, or running a worship service. But, whatever it is, providing this content without a member of your team having the matching expertise is more likely to create frustration than competency.

Maybe more important, content is no longer king. While you may have already curated a killer set of amazing content — which is important — the secret sauce of next-level ministry internships is creating strategic collision points between that content, with context (relationships, roles, and rhythms) and coaching. Most ministries struggle with creating and coordinating an effective framework for this dynamic. The result is a drain on people and resources that reduces effectiveness of their ministry internship and increases frustration.

Your team wants to do their job well. So them attempting a task for which they lack the experience is not something they will be eager or excited about doing. They may attempt the task, but there will likely be a drop in morale, as a result.

The better route is to source a holistic curriculum approach and toolbox from somewhere else. This, too, is something we help our frontline ministry partners to do. Whether you need a single course or a full ministry internship program we provide an integrated process that gets you the entire toolbox you need. 

Being Your Team’s Academic Design Specialist

At first glance, you might think that academic design is exactly where you should be spending your time. After all, you probably have classes, instructors, and many other teaching elements in your ministry internship program. And it is true that you will always need to have some resources dedicated to ensuring that you have the right design for your training program. 

But you are not a school. 

Most of your team probably comes from the ministry world. You went to school, but few of your staff have experience running academic departments or institutions. This means you will have some missing tools in your academic toolbox. 

This is not something you need to feel ashamed of! 

If your church needed a new building, you wouldn’t feel bad that you don’t know how to lay cement or run plumbing. You would understand that there are professionals who can help you do those things. The same is true for academic design. For more than twenty years, we have helped bridge the gap between what you do (in the real world) and the academic world. If you need help designing your overall academic process and getting your students the ability to earn credit, then we can help you accomplish that. And that means you and your team can focus on your primary skillsets and gifts. 

God has designed you and your team to accomplish a certain and specific goal. You don’t need to do everything to do everything that God wants you to do. Identify that specific set of core skills and talents that he has equipped your organization with and focus your time and energy there. For everything else, find the right partner.

For over twenty years, Eleven:6 has been helping ministry leaders launch immersive training programs that can also earn students credit towards a degree. If you are working to make this transition, then schedule a call with us, today.