Mentoring an intern is an incredibly rewarding endeavor, but we know it comes with its own set of challenges. There are a lot of things to think about as you're going through the process. Whether you're a mentor-newbie, or have been around the block a few times, these practical tips will help you identify your goals and navigate a more meaningful experience with your intern.
Resist the temptation to separate your work and your spiritual life.
The Lord cares about your soul, but He also cares about your work. Let him live in both arenas.
Determine what your intern will be doing, and how their day will be structured before you start looking to hire.
Make sure you communicate this to all your people; if need be, include them in the decision process. This will save you loads of headache later.
Figure out who your intern will report to. If you run a small business, that might be an obvious answer - you! However, if your business has other employees (or even a volunteer in a supervisory role), this step is critical.
This does not need to be very long - anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour would be appropriate. You want to find out how they are doing, where they need support or guidance, and if they are struggling with anything.
This is also an excellent opportunity to offer a listening ear to their heart, and provide spiritual guidance.
Spend time walking them around the office, or introducing them to frequent volunteers or customers. It will allow your team a chance to warm up to your intern, making for a smoother transition. Additionally, it will help them identify important volunteers or clients.
This may seem like overkill, but a place for your intern to reference the job description & expectations, and help them find their way around the office will help them tremendously.
(Think: “First five things to do in the morning,” “Phone etiquette & expectations,” or simply a list of office supplies or important documents and where they can be found.)
This simple rhythm will work wonders in your relationship with your intern. Determine to pray for them daily - for their relationship with you, for their experience in your care, and for their relationship (and growth with) the Lord.
Set an alarm on your phone, or pick a time of day (like the drive to the office, or on your walk back to your car) and stick to it. If you’re comfortable, remind them occasionally that you’re praying for them.
Your day-to-day operations may slow down, at least initially. The fact of the matter is, showing takes longer than doing.
Planning for a delay will allow you to walk into the experience with realistic expectations. Trying to rush through the first few days or weeks with your intern will only weaken the experience for both of you.
Life gets busy and we can’t always anticipate what the day will bring. Work can get tense, production can suddenly ramp up, or business might be slow. In the everyday moments, remember why you’re mentoring.
Remember to breathe, because the Lord is in control.
Remember that the Lord is using you.
Remember that your work has kingdom value.
Remember to keep your emotions in check.
Remember that your actions will always speak louder than your words.
Remember to read your Bible.
Remember to ask for help - from your co-workers, your peers, your pastor, the Holy Spirit.
Remember that no matter what the day unfolds, God is on the throne, sustaining all things, and He has been, and He will be.
Remember that He holds in perfect peace those whose minds are fixed on Him (Isaiah 26:3).
If you’d like more information and helpful guidance, check out the following FREE course we offer!
Click here: How to Hire Your First Intern with Ease
About the Author
Becky Nance is a mom of three girls, and wife to a worship pastor in central Iowa. She holds a M.A. in Ministry from Wesley Seminary with a concentration in Spiritual Formation. Becky spends much of her time mentoring young women, nurturing her babies, and crafting words to help shape the way we think about God.