My summer Pastoral Internship has been nothing short of a divine blessing. I have desired to pursue a career in pastoral ministry for as long as I can remember. Each time I consider a different path such as business, videography, or psychology, I cannot get out of my mind the desire to pursue pastoral ministry. I know that each of these other career paths would allow me to honor God because we are all called to be ministers of the Word and to declare His glory (Psalm 96:3). However, I feel a specific calling to be a shepherd to a church congregation more than any of the other passions the Lord has placed on my heart.

I’ve learned more through this internship than I can express in 700 words. However, for the sake of time and the reader not getting bored, here are the two things which impacted me most…

Surround yourself with Spirit-filled friends and family who love Jesus more than anything else and aren’t afraid to speak truth to you.

I think a tendency we as human beings have is to put people in our lives who comfort us but not people who will challenge us. Thankfully, I’ve had the privilege of attending Grace Polaris Church my entire life and have built lifelong relationships with people here. (In fact, I was literally going to church while I was still in the womb!) This church, its people, and—most importantly—the Lord are the reasons why I am the person I am today.

This Pastoral Internship has surrounded me with people who have encouraged me greatly in the faith, but also people who have been honest with me when they’ve seen areas in which I need to mature. Constructive criticism can be hard to hear sometimes, but it has immense value to help us become more and more like Christ every day. Seek to put people in your life who are also trying to become more like Christ every day, and growth will take place!

Ecclesiastes 4:12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

A passion to share the Gospel comes from a heart which consistently desires to understand the power and magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross—how high, deep, and wide God’s love is for His children.

This internship has instilled within me a desire to see people come to know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. What is the best way to grow a church? Some people would say that would be modern hip worship music, a certain type of Bible study, or an incredible facility that draws people in. The real way we can grow the church is by reaching lost people with the Gospel and praying that the Lord would change lives. Sharing the Gospel with nonbelievers can be hard, and I am just as guilty as anyone at missing opportunities to share the good news.

I was recently convicted by someone who said, “If you are still using the story about the Gospel conversation you had 6 months ago, you are not sharing the Gospel.” This wrecked me because I had the opportunity to watch the Lord save one of my friends that I shared the Gospel with four months ago…but that was four months ago! I’m currently mentoring this guy and trying to walk alongside him as best as I can in his newfound faith, but that doesn’t give me an excuse to stop sharing the Gospel. Lord, help me to be a faithful proclaimer of the Gospel, the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Our church is heading in an incredible and exciting direction, and there are a plethora of awesome changes coming to Grace. Even though I may be heading back to Grace College for my senior year, a big piece of my heart will remain here.

Would you join me in praying, above all, that the Lord would use Grace Polaris Church in God’s ultimate plan to seek and save the lost? Pray for this and pray that the Lord would use you individually in that plan.

Like what you’re reading?

Alec McLean is a pastoral intern at Grace. He is currently attending Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana, studying to get his Bachelor of Arts in Entrepreneurial Management with a minor in Behavioral Science. He is a lifelong attender of Grace and is excited to participate in the Pastoral Internship Program as he investigates God’s will for his future.