Photo (l-r): Nick, Reuben, Hamish, and Brian will undertake an accredited ministry internship with Broken Hill COC this year, through ACOM’s new offering.
By Josh Gibbon
Broken Hill Church of Christ, will be one of the first churches in our network to jump on an opportunity to participate in the recently launched internship training experience for budding ministry leaders being offered by Australian College of Ministry (ACOM) and Fresh Hope in 2022.
Kicking off in late February, ACOM is launching accredited training for church internships in which a church provides the supportive ministry environment for a student while ACOM facilitates the education and formation pathway online.
Mark Curtis, pastor at Broken Hill Church of Christ, says that four people in his congregation will be joining the program as the next step in their discipleship pathway – the youngest being 18 and the oldest, 84.
“It’s been great to see this cohort of guys come together,” Mark said. “God has grabbed them where they are and grown them and taken them to the point where they are willing to commit to a formal course of study.
“It certainly is a step that’s going to stretch each of them and we hope develops their godly character further.”
Kaye Schelbach, Student Engagement Manager at ACOM, shared how this program seeks to solve an issue she came across in her own ministry.
“I’m a firm believer in this because I was a pastor in Tasmania and we trained up all of our own leaders,” Kaye said. “We would have great young people in the church and they would go away to Melbourne or Sydney and never come back again.
“We decided that we would run our own college at our church in partnership with ACOM. They ended up being our youth pastors, children’s pastors, and local chaplains in schools.
“We went from losing all of our young people to having a really vital youth group with hundreds of young people in it because it was local leaders that were trained up to run it.”
Mark reflected that the pandemic has contributed to the decision for Broken Hill to offer the internship pathway this year.
“The great thing about ACOM is it’s already online,” he said. “One thing the pandemic’s done is its shifted people’s attention to what is offered online. Before you’d look for what was regionally available, and there’s not much here (Broken Hill) which would limit things.”
In the past, church internships have required a high financial commitment to administrate, develop, and supervise, preventing smaller churches from providing these training experiences.
Now with ACOM’s offering, a church of any size can provide a fruitful, symbiotic training experience for a budding leader, allowing them to learn and serve in their community without the mega-church price tag.
“It’s up to the church how much they want to invest into the experience financially, but they can essentially do it at no cost if they need to,” Kaye said.
“A church needs to provide someone who can do 18 hours of supervision throughout the year. This can be one-to-one or as a group.
“Then we look after the student as far as study goes, so you don’t have to worry about helping them with their assignments. We’re actually here to do all of that.”
ACOM will also facilitate connection between interns around the country and are hoping to host an intern retreat at The Tops later this year.
Are there budding leaders in your community that could benefit from this opportunity?
Why not get in touch with ACOM and explore this possibility now?
Enrolments for 2022 close on 14 February.
Read more stories of Fresh Hope HERE