Keys - A Metaphor
If you pay someone to clean a large building with a diversity of locks—let’s get crazy and picture a church building, eh?—you have to give them the keys to all those locks. Otherwise, some rooms will remain uncleaned. At the same time, if you just hand someone every key to your building with no task or instruction, you’re asking for trouble.
Authority (power) must be balanced with responsibility. The responsibility of the task of cleaning is matched with the authority given when equipping with keys. It’s a simple idea, but bless the poor soul who has to learn this the hard way.
Our takeaway? Yes, an intern obviously needs the keys to the church building, youth room, office, printer room, etc. But this goes further than that. As you pour into your intern throughout the summer, keep this balance in mind when tasking and equipping them for ministry. And let us all remember that these “keys” we’re handing them aren’t just physical (Mt 16:17-20).
Personal Inventories & Assessments
One way to start off well (and begin giving your interns authority) is to walk through some personality inventories and/or gifts assessments together. Myers-Briggs & Enneagram^ have shown to be very effective in developing self-awareness in ministers. Also, testing for spiritual giftedness (testing source is your choice here) as well as something like StrengthsFinder^ should be required for all church-workers—volunteer or paid.
Doing these as a team—you, your interns and any other youth staff or volunteers you have—will bear immediate, and continuing, fruit as you work together throughout the summer. Going on a missions trip in the second week of the summer before you’ve had any real time to delegate and empower your interns? At least your team has done some self-assessing! Throughout the trip, you can frame the preparations before each day (and debriefings after) through the awareness gained from these personal inventories.
Some Closing Wisdom from Spiderman* and Solomon:
“With great power comes great responsibility” - Spider-Man (2002) and various Spider-Man comics
“Where there is no vision, people cast off restraint” - Proverbs 29:18a
^ Enneagram does cost money ($10), and there are free versions out there, but I prefer this specific version of the assessment over any of the free versions I’ve encountered. Strengthsfinder has no free alternative (that I’m aware of) and costs $20. Trust me: these are both worth it.
* Yes, I know it was said by Uncle Ben to Spiderman, but it was in the Spiderman movie/comic! (Okay, fine, I’m kinda wrong on both accounts—it was originally Voltaire, but he didn’t have web-slingers, so we’re sticking with Spidey)