Ministerial interns and their spouses from around Australia attended the National Interns Camp from March 22 to 28 at the Adventist Alpine Village in Jindabyne, New South Wales.
The camp, which runs every two years and is organised by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia (AUC), is an intensive training program where future pastors are given the tools to apply their knowledge in areas such as board meetings, organising their weeks, what pastoral life will look like and how to address current issues and challenges faced by the church.
Ministerial spouses were given insight into what their role as a pastor’s spouse means and an understanding of requirements on the interns as they progress through their two-year internship.
This year 31 interns and their spouses attended.
Workshop topics included foundations to ministry; expectations for ministry; family life and relationship panel; and growing your connection with God as a pastor.
Interns were given the opportunity to ask candid questions to a panel of experienced pastors, including conference ministerial association secretaries, the AUC president and general secretary.
The interns also had time to embrace nature by buggy driving, mountain biking and hiking, with one group of interns waking up at 4am to climb to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko.
The final two days of the camp were spent in spiritual communion, with Pastor Jorge Munoz, president of the AUC, opening Sabbath at an outdoor bush chapel with beautiful views, and ending Sabbath with a banquet giving the interns the opportunity to unwind and absorb all they have learnt.
First year intern Richard Valenca, who recently moved to Australia from Brazil, described the camp as being very valuable: “To have the union administrators there was very important because it showed us that they care about us, they were there to know our story. It was also a blessing to see other people going through the same journey, even though we all have different stories, we have the same goal and to see that the administrators and ministerial secretaries are there with us in our journey, makes us feel more confident in our ministry.”
“It was amazing,” said second year intern Eden Ashcroft. “Everything was directed at us and there were so many golden nuggets that I can use practically in my ministry. The best part was connecting with people, meeting with other interns and meeting the ministerial secretaries and union administrators to learn from them.”
Even though the camp is designed to help the interns continue their journey toward becoming pastors, the experienced pastors guiding and teaching also enjoy the experience.
“I always walk away from intern camp inspired by our next group of young pastors,” said Pastor Brendan Pratt, AUC ministerial association secretary. “I get inspired by their enthusiasm and passion and it makes me want to bottle up that energy and give some to every pastor.”
“They remind me of why I am doing what I am doing and why I wanted to become a pastor in the first place. It is a blessing to spend this time with them.”