Hi, I’m Louise and I am delighted to be able to share with you just a little glimpse of Serge’s Summer Internship in Ireland (locally called “Encounter”).
The Serge Summer Internship is a Christian missions internship program that gives you the opportunity to spend 8 weeks serving others overseas under the guidance of one of Serge’s missionary teams. And in addition to hands-on missions work, the internship also entails Christ-centered, grace-based, personal mentoring so you can grow in your personal walk with Jesus and be more effective in your ministry.
But when I first came to be a Serge Intern as a Northern Irish music student, I didn’t really know what I was walking into, and to be honest – I didn’t think I really needed Bible teaching or that I needed to be discipled…WELL — I was proved wrong, very quickly.
I was coming from a very “together” kind of lifestyle, or so I thought. But I very quickly realized I wasn’t living a life of freedom, or of unconditional love. Instead, I was leading a law-abiding life of constantly trying harder, trying to prove myself, and trying to earn the respect and admiration of those around me. Because obviously, that’s what matters, right?
Through this experience, I realized I was living like someone who really hadn’t let the grace of God flow deeply in her life.
As I began to be mentored by a Serge missionary I began to realize that I had missed the point completely! And that my life was about so much more than trying harder, doing better, or proving myself…
So, I think there are three words that I’d use to describe what the Serge Summer Internship is about: Discovering, Serving, and Growing.
The Serge Summer Internship is about Discovering
We spend the first two weeks really grappling with the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Exploring the transforming power of the gospel with peers from around the world and walking through it with a mentor really helps you see where the gospel can applied – not just to your head – but to your heart.
Every intern goes through the Mentored Sonship Course with a Serge missionary as mentor. Even if we’ve been Christians for our whole lives, being discipled in this way helps us better understand what it means to be a ‘sent one’, to be a son and daughter of our King fully adopted into His family and not left as an orphan.
It helps us find our confidence – not in ourselves – but in God as His beloved child, maturing in our faith, and walking with Him. And it helps us discover that the law is not what binds us – but what chases us to Jesus and so we can turn and run to Him.
As interns, our mentors help us look at what life in the Spirit is about, what forgiveness looks like, how to deal with conflict in a loving, constructive, and life-giving way, and ultimately that it is God’s grace that propels us forward to minister grace to our brothers and sisters. (All in 2 weeks—WOW!)
Mixed in with that we spend time praying in small groups, in big groups, and also have some time and space for community worship.
“The Serge summer internship encourages students to face their own beliefs and doubts about who God is and submit them to who God truly reveals himself to be in scripture. It also encourages students to face the truth about what they are building their identity on and seeks to help them find life and identity only in who they are as beloved children of God so that the gospel has room to transform every area of their life.”
Lorraine Neill, formerIFES Ireland staff worker.
We also walked around the town of Greystones, Ireland, and had conversations with the local people about their community and to listen to what and where God would have us pray for – a challenge, but also a blessing in so many ways. Meeting them and asking them how we can pray was a really beautiful picture of how we are called to love our neighbor.
We cover a lot of material, but we don’t just leave it there. It beautifully paves a way for the next part of our internship: Outreach Teams.
The Serge Summer Internship is about Serving
Next, we split up into several outreach teams and go on an adventure of serving local churches and ministries dotted all around Ireland —in Trim, Limerick, Belfast, Ballymena, Carrickmacross, Urban Junction, and Christ City Church in Dublin.
These are amazing opportunities to come alongside to serve and love God’s ministry leaders in Ireland and share the gospel with the people we meet.
We find ourselves handing out leaflets, cleaning nursery toys, running kids’ clubs, hanging out with teenagers, playing football, volleyball, rounders, painting walls, painting pictures on walls, leading prayer meetings, speaking in churches all the while eating, breathing, sleeping and generally living… alongside one another!
The Serge internship is about doing life together! Life in all its complexities.
In our intern orientation weekend, we spend a long time talking about community and how we as a team want to create a culture that is a safe, unique and beautiful way of including so many different people in a loving and caring community that God so intimately creates for us.
Our team leaders help to cultivate a culture of accountability, of prayer, of further Bible reading and study, and of love for and service to one another as well as the ministry contexts we are part of.
Obviously, this isn’t only possible here, but this experience has given me a little taste of what God desires for our lives – a safe, unique, and beautiful place where God loves and cares for His people.
We grow together, we cry together, we laugh together, we talk it out, we laugh it out, and most importantly – we live it out!
In serving others in community, the internship gives us an intentional opportunity to live out the gospel.
“Die to self”—a phrase we hear a lot — at first it sounds horrendous.
Who doesn’t want to have their own way? But slowly, we discover the beauty of what it means to die to self.
To die to your own wants and desires and to allow the Lord to have his way as He leads us in the way of His loving plans for us and His redemptive purposes for all creation.
Then he [Jesus] told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.
What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I’m leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels.
This isn’t, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God.”
And in the summer internship, we get a taster, a glimpse of what that looks like here during our time together.
The Serge Summer Internship is about Growing
So discovery, serving, and finally…growing.
Why would we want to leave our comfort zone for this internship?
Why would Irish students leave their comfort zones to just pop down the road for their summer? Seriously though, think about it? It is a die-to-self sacrifice and that is what God calls us to.
Why would Americans raise support to spend two months on our little Island? They have listened to God’s call in their life and they are dying to themselves and accepting the invitation God has giving them.
When you serve as a Serge Intern you are responding and surrendering to God’s direction and having the opportunity to discover, serve, love, and be loved along the way!
For just a few weeks in the summer, interns are called to leave their comfort zones and come on a journey of learning…
Learning more of who God is, more of who we are in Christ, and discovering just how much He has to offer us by showing us a small portion of the variety of people and personalities He has created.
We cross all of those cultural boundaries and barriers that we wouldn’t in day-to-day life and are jelled together by the love and grace of God the Father.
We see different cultural backgrounds brought together in one culture of Christ.
And in the end, we grow in our love for the people God puts in our life, for the world God has created, and for the Lord who created us.