We have recently interviewed for "internship" positions at OBC only to be turned down twice by prospective candidates. I admit that this bugs me. I like most people do not handle rejection well. Especially when I see the obvious benefits of coming and serving in a church like OBC while preparing for vocational ministry. We are willing to pay, spend time mentoring and coaching, and provide leadership experience. The years of experience and maturity on our staff ministry team and their willingness to invest in the "next generation" are an amazing bonus.
So, I don't get it.
Why are we finding it so difficult? Is it because we are too far away? Is it too cold? Perhaps it is because of a lesser value on praxis in the scope of theological education. Frankly, I don't know any process of theology that is not practical. I don't mean that in a utilitarian way. I mean all theology is informed by praxis and vice-versa. It seems to me that it is imperative to learn how to "do theology" within the context of the local church along with the practice of critiquing the church environment and the conclusions arrived at in that environment. It is a necessary theological art form.
So, when one of our candidates says they don't think they can handle studies and working in a church at the same time, I think they are missing the point. Spread your education out a couple of more years. Make the sacrifices that you need to to get the experience that is necessary for your life and future. Drive the extra distance. Do whatever it takes but get the input of the local church in your life.