by Brady Bobbink
Director of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA
The words “Campus Missionary-in-Training” seem to lack the zing needed to grab most readers’ imagination. But before you pass over this article, consider the following question:
Have you ever been operated on? I have faced that unpleasant but needed experience in life. I was calmed considerably knowing that practical preparation required of my doctor before he was set free to work on me.
Consider the teacher, counselor, pilot, or electrician. All of these fields and many more have long realized the need for supervised “in-field” training. This training (especially in the medical field) is known as an internship, and is considered an essential aspect of credible preparation.
But what about the area of pastoral calling, where many seem much slower to see “in-field” training as an essential aspect of proper preparation? This attitude prevails in spite of the fact that the minister (be it campus or church) is a combination of the teacher, counselor, pilot, and doctor. The campus pastor will be a teacher of eternal truths and will be called on to give counsel to countless number of students. He or she will guide (pilot) the student fellowship through many storms. The campus minister is a surgeon of the soul who must learn rightly to use the scalpel of the spirit.
With these things in mind and in light of Scripture’s concern for the proper testing of leaders (1Timothy 3:10), one wonders why we place so little stress on meaningful internships in the training of our pastors. It is time we recognize that a CMIT is not irrelevant, it is essential!
You may be thinking, “I’ve been to college, Bible School, or perhaps seminary, so why should I do a CMIT?” Good question! Pastoral ministry, like a surgeon, pilot, or electrician, entails much more than simply fostering simple theological truths and ministry philosophy in a formal classroom setting.
The mind must be prepared, but there must also be an extended time of testing one’s character, discovery of one’s gifts, and [to] be done realistically requires “hands on” experience.
A veteran CMIT director stated, “My experience was over the nine years of training interns from Bible Schools, seminaries, and secular colleges has confirmed that all of them needed and greatly benefited from the practical supervised training they received. This need for practical training is the first reason to do a CMIT.”