Ministerial interns and their spouses from around Australia attended the National Interns Camp from March 22 to 28, 2021, at the Adventist Alpine Village in Jindabyne, New South Wales.
The camp, which runs every two years and is organized by the Australian Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (AUC), is an intensive training program where future pastors are given the tools to apply their knowledge in areas such as board meetings, organizing their weeks, what pastoral life will look like, and how to address current issues and challenges faced by the church.
Ministerial spouses were given insight into what their role as a pastor’s spouse means and an understanding of requirements on the interns as they progress through their two-year internship.
In 2021, 31 interns and their spouses attended. Workshop topics included foundations to ministry; expectations for ministry; a family life and relationship panel; and growing one’s connection with God as a pastor.
Interns were given the opportunity to ask candid questions to a panel of experienced pastors, including conference ministerial association secretaries and the AUC president and general secretary.
The interns also had time to embrace nature by buggy driving, mountain biking, and hiking, with one group of interns waking up at 4:00 a.m. to climb to Mount Kosciuszko's summit.
The camp’s final two days were spent in spiritual communion, with Jorge Munoz, president of AUC, opening Saturday (Sabbath) at an outdoor bush chapel with beautiful views and ending Sabbath with a banquet, allowing the interns to unwind and absorb all they had learned.
First-year intern Richard Valenca, who recently moved to Australia from Brazil, described the camp as being very valuable: “To have the union administrators there was very important, because it showed us that they care about us, they were there to know our story. It was also a blessing to see other people going through the same journey. Even though we all have different stories, we have the same goal, and to see that the administrators and ministerial secretaries are there with us in our journey makes us feel more confident in our ministry.”
“It was amazing,” Eden Ashcroft, second-year intern, said. “Everything was directed at us, and there were so many golden nuggets that I can use practically in my ministry. The best part was connecting with people, meeting with other interns, and meeting the ministerial secretaries and union administrators to learn from them.”
Even though the camp is designed to help the interns continue their journey toward becoming pastors, experienced pastors guiding and teaching said they also enjoy the experience.
“I always walk away from intern camp inspired by our next group of young pastors,” Brendan Pratt, AUC ministerial association secretary, said. “I get inspired by their enthusiasm and passion, and it makes me want to bottle up that energy and give some to every pastor.
“They remind me of why I am doing what I am doing and why I wanted to become a pastor in the first place. It is a blessing to spend this time with them.”