First Church Interns

To apply for the internship, please complete our online application form.

Preparation for ministry requires both the academic training we receive in seminary and the practical training we receive through experience and mentoring. The First Church Internship is a multi-year cohort program to provide practical ministry training and experience to seminary students. We have designed this program as a complement to seminary studies to give preparing pastors a well-rounded experience for thriving in ministry after seminary.


This program is open to any enrolled seminarians in the Lexington area. Please see the Requirements of Interns before applying.

All internships are one-year commitments with an option for the intern and First UMC to renew for up to six years.

Benefits to Interns

  • Work experience and mentoring in a respected multi-site United Methodist Church
  • Possible continuing job opportunity after graduation, or connections to a wide ministry network
  • Internship qualifies for supervised ministry
  • Note: this is an unpaid internship

Requirements of Interns

  • 10 hours per week of ministry work and training at First UMC, under the supervision of your assigned ministry mentor.
  • Ministry work (5 hours per week) will be assigned by intern’s mentor, with increasing levels of responsibility and opportunity.
  • Training includes three cohort gatherings per week (5 hours per week).
  • See details under “Cohort Training and Learning.”

Application Process

  • Application deadline: July 31, 2020
  • An interview and references may be requested during the application process.
  • Internship offers will be made no later than August 28, 2020.
  • The internship program is a highly competitive program for which all applicants may not be accepted.

Cohort Training and Learning

We believe the best ministers are constant learners. We focus on three modes of learning in our Ministry Fellows cohort:

    1. Academic – Your seminary studies are an essential component to your preparation as a pastor. Your academic work will expose you to first-rate scholars and will help you to develop as a critical thinker. It will equip you with biblical and theological tools and foundations for ministry. We believe the seminary is better-suited than the church to provide you academic learning in biblical and theological studies.
    2. Experiential – Some skills are better developed through experience. Academics can equip you to prepare a worship service or visit someone in the hospital, but you will acquire these skills mostly through experience. Your service in an apprentice role in the church will expose you to the practices of our pastoral team and equip you with the practical tools for ministry. We believe the church is better-suited than the seminary to provide you experiential learning in practical ministry.
    3. Collaborative – Each of us has different gifts, passions, and experience. In collaborative learning, we are challenged by others and learn from them. We meet as a ministry cohort for the sake of collaborative learning and encouragement.

Our collaborative learning takes three forms.

Learning from Authors – Mondays, 2:30-4 pm – First UMC Downtown Office

Our pastoral team meets with the cohort to discuss important books for pastoral ministry. Discussion focuses on critical evaluation of the authors’ ideas and practical application for current and future ministry. We choose books from the fields of practical ministry, pastoral theology, spiritual formation, psychology, and social sciences.

Learning from Practitioners – Wednesdays, 8:30-10 am – First UMC Downtown Office

We invite a different ministry practitioner to join us each week to share new perspectives on ministry. Most practitioners share about calling and their path into ministry and the most important things they have learned along the way. Discussions range in focus from pastoral care and evangelism strategies to navigating the ordination process and church politics. This weekly meeting is regarded by current cohort participants as the gem of the whole program for the ways it has inspired and enlightened participants for ministry.

Learning from Each Other – Thursdays, 2:30-4:00 pm – Wilmore

We close each week with a meeting focused on reflection from the past week in ministry and a roundtable discussion about real ministry situations and challenges. Reflection time includes points of gratitude and points of challenge from the week in ministry and an extended reflection on what we learned from our Wednesday speaker.


To apply for the internship, please complete our online application form.