Many Student Ministries across the country are privileged to have summer interns, but the reality is, many Youth Pastors are clueless when it comes to leading these new additions each year. Here are a few examples of how NOT to treat your Summer Interns:
1. TREAT THEM LIKE SLAVES
I know what you’re thinking… “but this is the only time of the year I have any help so I’m going to work these kids like dogs…” When you treat your Interns like slaves, you’ll surprisingly get less production from them than you would if you managed them correctly. Don’t hurt yourself or your ministry by mistreating your teammates.
2. EXPECT A FULL INVESTMENT WITHOUT INVESTING BACK
Believe it or not, this is an opportunity, not only for your Interns, but for you as well. Take the opportunity to invest in them, just as they have committed to invest in the ministry.
3. OVERWORK & UNDERPAY
It’s like we look at ways to underappreciate the people on the bottom of the totum pole sometimes… If you’re going to have people work for you or serve your ministry, find ways to appreciate them. You may not have a lot of resources, but there are plenty of ways you can show your appreciation.
4. TALK DOWN TO THEM BUT EXPECT REPECT
Try to talk to your Interns the same way you would talk to your Senoir Pastor. Be respectful. Talk in a tone that treats them as a peer and look for ways to show them respect. When we demean those who are under us, it shows that we are inferior leaders and really not qualified to lead at all.
5. DON’T EXPLAIN YOUR EXPECTATIONS UP FRONT
If you want someone to disappoint you, then don’t let them know what you expect in the beginning. We hurt ourselves and our ministries when we do that. Start your summer off strong and have a conversation that gives goals, expectations and responsibilities. It will be better for everyone.
6. CALL THEM INTERN… THEY LOVE THAT!
A Summer Intern is only an ‘Intern’ in our inner-office language. To our students, they are ‘new additions to the TEAM’. We don’t use terms in our speech that would limit them in their potential. It sounds crazy that a term like ‘Intern’ would prevent a productive perception, but you’d be surpised how teenagers use ‘titles’ to determine the amount of respect they give. Make sure your language builds your team up and commands the respect of your students.