Preparation for ministry requires both the academic training we receive in seminary and the practical training we receive through experience and mentoring. The First Church Internship is a multi-year cohort program to provide practical ministry training and experience to seminary students. We have designed this program as a complement to seminary studies to give preparing pastors a well-rounded experience for thriving in ministry after seminary.


This program is open to any enrolled seminarians in the Lexington area. Please see the Requirements of Interns before applying.

All internships are one-year commitments to run concurrent with the fall and spring school semesters. For students who have completed first-year internships, we have opportunity to offer a limited number of paid internships and full fellowships.



Work experience and mentoring in a respected multi-site United Methodist Church

Possible continuing job opportunity after graduation, or connections to a wide ministry network

Internship qualifies for supervised ministry

Next opportunities at FUMC in a paid internship or full fellowship role

Note: this is an unpaid internship

Requirements of Interns

10 hours per week of ministry work and training at First UMC, under the supervision of your assigned ministry mentor.

Ministry work (5 hours per week) will be assigned by intern’s mentor, with increasing levels of responsibility and opportunity.

Training includes two cohort gatherings per week, plus some outside reading (5 hours per week).

See details under “Cohort Training and Learning.”

Application Process

Application deadline: July 1, 2021.

An interview and references may be requested during the application process.

Internship offers will be made no later than July 22, 2021.

The internship program is a highly competitive program for which we are not able to accept all applicants.

Cohort Training and Learning

We believe the best ministers are constant learners. Your seminary studies are an essential component to your preparation as a pastor. Your academic work will expose you to first-rate scholars and help you develop as a critical thinker. It will equip you with biblical and theological tools and foundations for ministry. We believe the seminary is better-suited than the church to provide you academic learning in biblical and theological studies.

We focus on two other modes of learning in our Ministry Fellows cohort:

(1) Experiential - Some skills are better developed through experience. Academics can equip you to prepare a worship service or visit someone in the hospital, but you will acquire these skills mostly through experience. Your service in an apprentice role in the church will expose you to the practices of our pastoral team and equip you with the practical tools for ministry. We believe the church is better-suited than the seminary to provide you experiential learning in practical ministry.

(2) Collaborative - Each of us has different gifts, passions, and experience. In collaborative learning, we are challenged by others and learn from them. We meet as a ministry cohort for the sake of collaborative learning and encouragement.

Our collaborative learning takes place in two weekly meetings at our Downtown campus— Mondays, 2:30-4 pm, and Wednesdays, 8:30-10 am. These meetings take three forms:

Learning from Authors

Our pastoral team meets with the cohort to discuss important books for pastoral ministry. Discussion focuses on critical evaluation of the authors’ ideas and practical application for current and future ministry. We choose books from the Dields of practical ministry, pastoral theology, spiritual formation, psychology, and social sciences.

Learning from Practitioners

We invite a different ministry practitioner to join us each week to share new perspectives on ministry. Most practitioners share about calling and their path into ministry and the most important things they have learned along the way. Discussions range in focus from pastoral care and evangelism strategies to navigating the ordination process and church politics.

Learning from Each Other

We host regular roundtable discussions about real ministry situations and challenges. Along with First UMC pastoral team and fellows, we take turns sharing cases to learn together and improve ministry practices and systems.