Intern and congregant perceptions of the impact of a United Methodist ministry internship program in rural Missouri
This qualitative study examines a ministry internship program at a rural regional university in Missouri. The study sought to determine the impact of the internship on both interns in the program and on congregants in churches served by the program. Guided by the lens of self-efficacy as identified originally by Bandura (1977), the researcher conducted interviews, focus groups, and examined archival data to ascertain impact. Completed research helped identify eight areas of impact. The internship allowed for support and transformation of both interns and congregants throughout its duration. Interns were able to gain a realistic understanding of the ministry field. Interns were able to reflect on their practice through differential outcomes. Interns were able to ascertain a potential calling to vocational ministry. Congregants reported an influx of new ideas into their churches. Rural churches were able to stay open. Many interns went on to become young vocational ministers within the United Methodist Church. Both congregants and interns reported the internship allowed them to come closer to God.
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