From the Classroom to the Pulpit | Micah Herbster’s Pastoral Studies Internship
Life after college is often a frightening prospect for undergraduate students. Most young adults in college wonder how they’re going to be able to balance life after college when they’re struggling to get the next day’s assignments done. For Micah Herbster, he received a taste of life after graduation when he participated in a pastoral internship this summer.
A Call to Ministry
A senior pursuing a degree in Pastoral Studies, Micah fulfilled his internship requirement by working with pastors all over the country as he traveled with his music team, the Praisemen, over the summer. He used this opportunity to apply the skills he had learned in the classroom in active ministry. He also had the chance to experience a pastor’s life in a variety of different ways.
Micah knew he wanted to go into Pastoral Studies since he was a senior in high school. Although hesitant at first, Micah ultimately embraced God’s calling for his life.
“The Lord really made it clear in my mind that I should prepare in the broadest sense so that I would be equipped for many avenues of ministry,” he recalls.
The Pastoral Studies degree at Maranatha Baptist University provided such an avenue for Micah so he could prepare for several areas of ministry. Within the College of Bible and Church Ministries, he learned to study the Bible, how to interpret deep theological truths, practical ways in which ministry is accomplished, and many other valuable ministerial and theological skills. Micah knew, however, that applying these skills in ministry was what would bridge the gap between what he learned in the classroom and how he ministered to people outside campus.
An Unusual Opportunity
As Micah prepared to go on tour this summer with the Praisemen, he saw an opportunity to apply his skills in the ministry field. After working with the Bible Department, he was able to work his internship into the tour.
Throughout the summer, the Praisemen traveled across the country. This gave Micah the opportunity to speak with many different churches and with diverse groups of people. During his internship, Micah also had the chance to preach in every church they visited.
“I was privileged to share a challenge in about 75 different churches, schools and camps,” he says.
In addition, Micah spoke with several pastors around the country, and he found immense value in the knowledge they extended to him. “Most internships are done with one to three pastors,” he says. “I was privileged to interact with sixty-five pastors and glean from hundreds of collective years of experience. I think [that was] my favorite aspect of my responsibility.”
He also says, “I had responsibilities in leading the team which entailed team meetings to refocus our hearts on ministry, tons of contact with pastors, special music and testimonies, and more.”
Overall, Micah remained thoroughly immersed in public ministry. He appreciated the special bonds he formed with those he met. He has even kept in contact with a number of the pastors he connected with on tour.
“Pastor Mark Poorman at Woodcrest Baptist Church in Minneapolis was one of the very first pastors that we were with this summer,” Micah remembers. “His dedication to his ministry combined with his obvious appreciation and investment in the team made our time there very impactful.” Poorman is a member of MBU’s Board of Trustees.
From the Classroom to the Local Church
Micah saw the concepts he learned in the classroom applied to real-life ministry. “I got to see ministry modeled,” he says. “It takes what you learned in the classroom and puts in into the context of the local church.”
For Micah, his internship also helped him see the value of his studies. “It was neat for me to see the theology attached to the practice and getting to experience it for the full summer,” he recalls. “It roots what I’m learning with why I’m doing it.”
The opportunity he received to travel also revealed another important truth: “You learn to adapt and learn to make disciples wherever God placed you,” he says. “Ministry is not about the location, but about the people you minister to today—the people who are right in front of you. It doesn’t matter where you are.”
In addition, through his internship, Micah discovered that classroom learning did not have all the answers for real-life situations.
“I don’t think I’m leaving MBU with every answer, every theological understanding, or every specific detail of practical ministry philosophy,” Micah says. “I believe I am leaving the College of Bible and Church Ministries department equipped with the tools to pursue a life of learning.” This is the goal of every academic unit at MBU for their students.
He discovered that classroom learning, while a necessary factor in ministry, needs to be paired with active ministry experiences. At the same time, the knowledge he gained from his education proved to be important in seeing the world as Christ sees it.
“I’m [also] leaving MBU with a balanced ministry philosophy,” Micah explains. “We are taught to avoid extremes that ostracize others from our ministry influence.”
While traveling, Micah experienced a variety of cultures throughout the United States and how each one influenced the churches in that area. Most importantly, he learned that people are one of the most important factors of ministry. His internship helped him see the reality of ministering to lost people.
“It’s not all easy. Ministry is not perfect—you can’t put it in a box,” he says. “Ministry is messy. People are messy, and that’s what pastoring is—hurting people helping hurting people.”
A Future in Ministry
Micah returned home at the end of the summer with knowledge and experience that cemented God’s calling for his future. After he graduates, Micah plans to move to Ringgold, Louisiana, to take a staff position at Southland Christian Camp. In addition, he plans to start a men’s ensemble and immerse himself in youth evangelism.
“Doing an internship helped me see the more challenging side of ministry,” Micah concludes. “It helped me to ground myself in reality.”
Concerning MBU and his Pastoral Studies education, he says, “I don’t believe that there is a better place in the world right now to pursue a theologically sound, philosophically balanced and practically focused education for a life of ministry.”
Maranatha’s classroom learning complements internship opportunities that are often available and easily accessible. This combination gives students like Micah the opportunity to receive a complete education with real-world experience that fully equips them for life outside college, wherever God calls them to go.