Summer break gives Candler students the chance to take on the challenges and rewards of an internship tied to their ministry callings. Candler provides support for you before, during, and after the internship, which can range from local church ministry to nonprofit work, chaplaincy, music ministries, and more. Students earn course credit hours, and often a salary or stipend.

"Our internship program is set up so that students can pursue their interests, work with a faculty member and receive credit," says Thomas W. Elliott Jr., director of ministry internships. "We're developing community partnerships and fostering learning opportunities for students who have particular areas of interests."

Students can pursue summer internship opportunities through Candler in three ways:

  • Candler Advantage Summer Internship in Congregational Leadership: Candler Advantage builds on two years of Contextual Education, taking rising third-year MDiv students outside of the classroom and immersing them in church settings of their choosing to more fully develop their pastoral leadership skills. Students submit a proposal about their plans for the internship and the congregation where they hope to serve. "Candler Advantage allows students to dive headfirst into full-time ministry without worrying about expenses," says rising third-year MDiv student Elizabeth Rogers. "The program helped me explore my call, cover living costs, and pay tuition--a beautiful trifecta and answered prayer in my seminary journey. It is yet another incredible opportunity that Candler offers its students!" Read Elizabeth's blog post about preaching during her internship.
  • Advanced Summer Ministry Internships: Churches partnering with Candler hire students for the summer, allowing them to gain advanced ministry training. Students apply, interview, and are hired directly by the partner churches. "What has blown me away this summer is how this church has gathered around me as members of the global Church to help me discern my future," says rising second-year student Justin Schoolcraft, who is interning with a congregation in Louisville. "I am beyond thankful to Candler for this opportunity." Read Justin's blog post about vocational discernment during his internship.
  • Summer Ministry Internships: With guidance and direction from Candler faculty and staff, students find the ministry setting where they want to serve, and apply as necessary. Similar to Candler's Contextual Education curriculum, interns are paired with a faculty member who specializes in their area of ministry interest-such as congregational leadership, pastoral care, or Justice, Peacebuilding, and Conflict Transformation (JPACT)-and serves as an academic resource throughout the summer. Students also have a site supervisor at their internship placement.

Get a sense of some students' summer internship experiences by reading their blog posts below!

Lahronda Little serves as a youth pastor at Bethel UMC in Stockbridge, Georgia, and recently returned from a mission trip to Honduras as part of her Candler Advantage summer. Read about her trip. "For me, Candler Advantage stands at the intersection of education, vocation, and self-awakening," she says. "By connecting what I have learned in class with my desire to re-imagine and re-shape church in community, I have discovered more about myself than I thought possible." Lahronda also recently shared how Candler supports second-career seminarians like her--read that piece here.

David Roth is spending the summer with Trinity Anglican Church in Decatur, Georgia, and while plenty of activities and events keep him moving, David's internship is also providing opportunities to consider elements of ministry that might seem more internal--including discernment about how he asks questions. "My life has been filled with a kind of devotion to my own questions. But I see in my site supervisor something different. Her life may share my devotion to questions, but the questions she devotes herself to are not her own." Read the rest of David's post.

Linda Stephan is serving at her home church in Traverse City, Michigan, working with a team to completely re-imagine worship so that members of the special needs community feel fully welcome. "Thanks to Candler, I don't have to wait on my degree to start testing the waters," Linda says. "Candler believes we learn by doing. That means that when I come to my first appointment as a pastor in The United Methodist Church, I won't arrive simply with theories and ideas, but also with experience. It also means that my home church gets the chance to try something new and exciting and wonderful!" Read Linda's piece about the new worship service.