Nothing fancy happens in the Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC) pastoral internship program. We simply want to unveil regular, day-to-day ministerial life and provide men aspiring to be pastors with an ecclesiological and pastoral grid for doing the work of ministry. How should the church be organized? Who should lead the church? Does the Bible discuss church membership? How does church polity affect the functionality of the local church? In addition to observing church life today, CHBC interns will spend much of their time engaging in conversation with great pastors and theologians from the past.
Through these conversations and their interaction with our church’s life, interns will discover that we believe God’s church is the main sounding board of the gospel, but a sounding board that’s largely ignored in Christian circles today. Not only that, they will consider what it means to build a church, not according to the latest cultural waves or “whatever works,” but according to all that the Bible says about our life together as the local church. Praise God that his Word is not silent on matters of ecclesiology and pastoring.
We offer the internship program to six men, twice a year. It lasts approximately five months, and occurs from January to May as well as from August to December. We usually expect an intern applicant to have completed his undergraduate degree, but beyond that our interns have consisted of everything from young men just out of college to senior pastors on sabbatical.
Due to the shortness of the internship program, men coming from outside of CHBC should not expect to use it to help them answer the question, “Am I called to the ministry?” Five months is not enough time to confirm someone’s ministerial qualifications. Instead, we view the church sending a man into the program as bearing that responsibility. Moreover, CHBC does not build ministry on interns (teaching publicly, leading small groups, etc.), and men should not expect the internship to be a time where their gifts are tested.
The bulk of the intern’s office time will be spent reading over 5,000 pages of text, writing about one hundred papers (5 per week), and discussing those papers. While the list of books is constantly updated, here is a general guide to the books that are covered:
- When People are Big and God is Small, Ed Welch
- Humility, C.J. Mahaney
- Theology of the Reformers, Timothy George
- The Unquenchable Flame, Michael Reeves
- Calvinism: A Very Short Introduction, Jon Balserak
- What Is a Healthy Church?, Mark Dever
- What Is a Healthy Church Member, Thabiti Anyabwile
- Understanding Church Leadership, Mark Dever
- The Reformation of the Church, Iain Murray
- The Christian Ministry, Charles Bridges
- Polity, Mark Dever, ed.
- Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, Mark Dever
- The Deliberate Church, Mark Dever and Paul Alexander
- The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love, Jonathan Leeman
- The Compelling Community, Mark Dever and Jamie Dunlop
- Baptist Foundations, Jonathan Leeman and Mark Dever
- Expositional Preaching, David Helm
- Word-Centered Church, Jonathan Leeman
- Going Public, Bobby Jamieson
- Understanding the Lord's Supper, Bobby Jamieson
- Center Church, Tim Keller
- Believers’ Baptism, Tom Schreiner and Shawn Wright
- The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, Mark Dever
- Evangelism, Mack Stiles
- Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, J.I. Packer
- “Regaining Meaningful Church Membership,” Mark Dever, in Restoring Integrity in Baptist Churches
- Worship by the Book, Don Carson
- Give Praise to God, edited by Phil Ryken et al (selected chapters)
- Engaging with God, David Peterson
- Perspectives on Christian Worship: 5 Views, ed. by J Matthew Pinson (selected chapters)
- The Church: The Gospel Made Visible, Mark Dever
- Discipling, Mark Dever
- The Trellis and the Vine, Colin Marshall and Tony Payne
- Church Planting Is for Wimps, Mike McKinley
- Church Membership, Jonathan Leeman
- Church Discipline, Jonathan Leeman
- Don't Fire Your Church Members, Jonathan Leeman
- Church Elders, Jeramie Rinne
- Divided by Faith, Smith & Emerson
- Good and Bad Ways to Think about Religion and Politics, Robert Benne
- Evangelicalism Divided, Iain Murray
- Two or three additional books to be selected by Mark Dever during the internship
Every week, Senior Pastor Mark Dever reads the reflection papers written in response to the above reading. All the interns and most of the pastoral staff then join him for three hours on Thursday morning to discuss and defend their papers. Pastor Dever will highlight a number of aspects from those papers and prompt the interns to discuss the matters among themselves and present pastoral staff.
Who is Eligible?
We welcome applications from men who are aiming at pastoral ministry and who are able to affirm the CHBC church covenant and statement of faith. Six men are invited to participate each semester. Housing is normally provided, though housing is limited for families with children. In addition, interns receive a stipend of $1300 per month for living expenses. We expect each intern to purchase health insurance coverage for himself (and his family, if applicable) for the duration of the internship.
All housing is in close proximity to the church, therefore no vehicle is necessary during the program (though parking is provided for those with a car). Also, the DC Metro system offers easy access to most parts of the city.
A Typical Week
In addition to the reading and writing assignments mentioned above, the intern’s week includes mandatory attendance at staff meetings, elders meetings, all public services of the church, staff prayer times, intern discussions, weddings, wedding rehearsals, funerals, weekly service reviews, intern accountability and supervision times, and any spontaneous meetings that arise in the course of a week. Interns can expect to serve once a week in general office administration. Interns will also travel together to at least one of Mark Dever’s non-local speaking engagements during the course of the program.
Additionally, we ask interns to schedule one-on-one lunches with each church elder, deacon, and staff member. Interns also meet with a variety of new and old members of the church. These meetings provide the interns with an opportunity to learn about various aspects of the church’s history and life.
Interns become members of Capitol Hill Baptist Church during the time of their internship in order to best fold them into the life of the congregation. (Yet we do have a policy that single interns cannot initiate a dating relationship during the internship—the folding only goes so far during these five months!)
Is The Internship For You?
If you believe this internship would benefit your development as a minister, we encourage you to submit an application. The form is available on this website and contains further instructions. Due to the large number of applications, we cannot guarantee either acceptance or your first choice of program dates. If you are flexible about what start-dates work for you, please indicate this on your application.
We usually request that intern applicants attend a 9Marks Weekender conference as part of their application process. We have reserved spaces for intern applicants at the Weekenders that take place each year on the weekend with the 3rd Sunday in March and September. Intern applicants should not sign up to attend the Weekender on their own, but should wait to hear from CHBC staff about Weekender details and register directly through e-mail communication with us. Since spots at the Weekender are limited, receiving an invitation to this conference is contingent on how early you apply and the strength of your application.
For international applicants, we normally expect you to apply for a 9Marks International Intensive conference, which is an extended version of the Weekender. Generally, we will send you more information about the International Intensive and a formal invitation to apply to this conference in response to your internship application.
Acceptance decisions are announced three to four months prior to the program’s commencement each semester.