2019 Internship Highlights: James Kong

Where did you pursue your internship (location/church)? 

Grace Church in Sanxia, Taiwan.

What were your primary responsibilities (preaching, teaching, counseling, etc.)?

My primary responsibilities were teaching and preaching on Sundays. I was also involved in other community/church ministries during the week (visitations, small groups, etc.).

How has your WSC education prepared you for the internship?

I am truly grateful for my WSC education. It has prepared me for my internship especially when it came to preaching and teaching. Westminster’s rigorous academic curriculum has shown me how to faithfully interpret and preach the scriptures. Specifically, I now have to tools to see how each passage of scripture points to the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Westminster also prepared me for the theological and pastoral moments I had during my internship. I had multiple opportunities to interact with others, whether it was in small group discussions, questions during adult Sunday School, visitations, or evangelism. Having a solid theological foundation was incredibly helpful when discussing difficult topics such as inerrancy, the Trinity, assurance, or roles in the family. But most importantly, Westminster has helped me better understand the gospel so that I can share it to those around me with confidence and clarity.

What did you learn from this internship that seminary couldn’t teach you?

Through my internship at a young church plant, I was able to learn the practical aspects of church planting such as choosing a location, how to connect with the community, and ministries that allow a church to grow. Growing up in a big church, I never really thought about the needs of a church plant. It was also humbling and encouraging to see how the pastor of the church plant was committed to caring for the church and evangelizing to the community, while also performing the household tasks of maintaining the church building. Experiencing the life of a church plant was eye opening and impactful to the way I think about ministry.

In addition, visiting different people has forced me to think deeper about how to pastorally approach them. In the past, when I heard about idol worshippers, struggling Christians, or the sick, I would acknowledge how hard it is for a pastor to care for them. However, I wouldn’t think about how I would minister them. My internship included visitations ranging from the mature believer, to the new convert, to the struggling Christian, to the unbeliever. These visitations helped me reflect on how I can reach the community and pastor a church.

What would you say to future seminarians participating in internships?

Work on things you aren’t good at. This is what my supervisor also encouraged me to do. Internships provide you with more feedback from both the leaders and the members of the church. It is a great time to stretch yourself and train for ministry. Of course, we can always be working on what we aren’t good at after seminary, but the expectations are different between an intern and a pastor.

I would also suggest interacting more with non-Christians. We have the benefit of knowing the gospel while others live in the dark. Our obligation is to proclaim the gospel to unbelievers. If they have never heard it, you now have the chance to tell them how to be saved. If they reject you, you have an opportunity to defend the Christian faith. Either way, conversations with unbelievers refines our ability to be a witness of Christ. Having these interactions in an internship under the guidance of a supervisor is incredibly beneficial in preparation for ministry.