Pastoral Intern Program 2022-08-03T10:40:57-04:00

Ashland Church Pastoral Intern Program

Ashland Church is committed to reproducing pastors and church leaders who are sent to serve the local church around the world. Our pastoral intern program seeks to equip men who will serve the local church as pastors, church planters, and missionaries.

This objective is best accomplished within the context of the local church. God has designed the local church to be where we cultivate our skills and gifts for ministry. In and through the local church, we discern our calling to pastoral ministry. The local church is God’s instrument in the world responsible for acknowledging and affirming future pastors. It’s the local church that sends planters, missionaries, and leaders for the sake of the mission around the world. 

Our prayer is that through Ashland Church’s pastoral intern program, many men will be sent out to pastor, plant, and serve among the unreached. This program also serves as a tool to develop leaders who are called to stay and faithfully serve Ashland Church in Richmond, Kentucky.

Discerning the Call

Interns are encouraged to reevaluate their progress at all times. At the beginning of each year, they will meet with the pastor(s), staff, and other recommended leaders before deciding to move forward in the program. A primary goal of the program is to help men discern their call to ministry. By design, not everyone who starts the program will move to completion. We not only celebrate God’s will that men are called to pastoral ministry, but as it unfolds through this process, we also celebrate God’s wisdom in calling men to witness the gospel in a myriad of other ways.

Three Year Process

The intern program is a three-year process. Interns will move from examining the call to ministry in year one, to formally serving the church in year two, to being sent by Ashland in year three.

Three Year Limit

The program is designed for the intern to keep moving forward through each phase over three years. Ideally, the intern will move from the program to serve the local church. Our prayer is that once completed the intern will be sent AT Ashland or sent FROM Ashland. Year three in the program is meant to help lead the intern into a pursuit of their calling and role in the local church. This pursuit could take one year or many years. While the pastor(s), staff, and leadership will help guide the intern in this pursuit, they will not remain in the program beyond year three. The intern program is not to be seen as a constant or continual ministry position at Ashland.

1st Year – “Called?”

During the first year, the intern will work through what it means to be called to pastoral ministry. As they become acquainted with pastoral ministry in the church, each intern will receive guidance from the pastor(s), staff, and church body to help answer the question, “Am I called?” The intern will need to come to terms with their own desire for pastoral ministry. They will ask the question, “Do I have the desire to develop the pastoral skill, discipline, and grit it takes to love the church well? Along the way, the intern will have to come to terms with not only the way they perceive the church but also the way the local church perceives them.

2nd Year – “Serve?”

In year two, the intern will investigate their desires, skillset, gifts, and the grit needed for ministry. Interns will be given strategic oversight within a significant ministry of the church. They will work alongside church leaders to be responsible for such things as planning, scheduling, vision casting, volunteer recruitment, communication, mobilization, and execution of weekly ministry. Depending on ministry needs in the church and the intern’s skill set, certain ministry positions could be paid a part-time salary. All paid positions at Ashland are determined and approved by the pastor(s) and personnel team. 

3rd Year – “Sent?” 

In year three, the intern will begin to explore pastoral ministry at Ashland and beyond.  If qualified, the intern will spend this year applying for ordination at Ashland. The pastor(s) and other church leaders will be strategically involved in encouraging the intern to pursue ordination. The intern will consider the need for more training and theological education. We will assist the intern in answering the questions:  “Do I need additional seminary education?” “Should I seek training through a mission organization like Radius International?” “Am I called to serve another church or in another city?” “Should I pursue opportunities with the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board, or another mission agency?” In exploring these options the intern will also be answering the question, “Am I called to stay and serve Ashland Church in whatever way possible?”

Each year of the program the intern will have the same core ministry requirements. The core requirements integrate the intern into the mission and ministry of Ashland Church. 

Weekly Meetings

The heart of the core requirements is the weekly intern’s meeting.  During this time, we preach sermons, critique sermons, and review books together.  Interns are assigned and helped with ministry tasks. We challenge, encourage, and pray for one another. 

Observational Reports (over 3 years)

Each year will have a different emphasis on development that will help the intern discern their call to ministry. Over three years, the intern will have to complete observational reports after participating in a mission trip, interacting with partner churches, and attending a denominational gathering. 

Required Reading

Alongside the requirements and development emphasis, each intern will be responsible to complete a different set of required readings each year.

Download the Observational Reports & Required Reading Checklist here

The following requirements are the same for each year of the program


  • Gather for worship with Ashland Church each Sunday.
  • Attend and participate in weekly intern meetings. 
  • Attend all congregational meetings.
  • Serve at all ministry events at Ashland. Show up early. Have a ministry presence during. Stay to help take down and clean up. 

Communicate when there is a scheduling conflict to any services, meetings, or events.


  • BFG / Equippeed – Maintain weekly involvement in a Bible Fellowship Group. If you are not a BFG leader you should regularly start and lead an Equipped Group.
  • Ministry – Be engaged in at least one area of ministry where you have leadership responsibilities beyond what pastors and staff assign each week. (This will help determine where the intern serves in year two.)
  • Evangelism – Participate in personal evangelism at least four times throughout training. (We assume you are sharing the gospel much more. However, we want to hear about at least four.) These encounters must take place outside the context of regular church ministry. 
  • Preaching Find preaching and teaching opportunities. Preach at a nursing home, local mission, or a context outside of Ashland. These opportunities should be found independently of the pastors. We want to know you want to preach. If so, you’ll find opportunities. If at this time you don’t feel called to preach, be active in teaching the Bible in some context (kids, BFG, students, etc). Sermons should be recorded and sent to the interns so that we can critique them at our meetings. 
  • Discipleship – Disciple at least two other men consistently for 9 months. An Equipped Group or a Fight Club in your BFG counts for this. 
  • Family – If married, lead your wife and kids in active service at Ashland. There is no requirement for your wife to lead any ministry. However, she must joyfully serve this church and have a ministry presence.
  • Care – Make hospital/shut-in visits on assigned days each week. Coordinate with leadership about an appropriate day conducive to your schedule. In the event of a conflict, you are responsible for making sure visits get made on your assigned day.
  • Work – Help as available with weekly tasks around the building. This may involve cleaning, preparing the baptistry, moving chairs, setting up and breaking down from ministry events, etc. 

Over three years the intern should participate at least once in a

  • Mission Trip to NOLA, Peru, or other Ashland-led international mission location. 
  • A WORSHIP SERVICE and A STAFF MEETING at Ashland in Oldham County. Coordinate with the pastors and staff to make sure it’s a convenient time to attend. Write a three-page paper that details specific ways you see the Ashland vision and philosophy being uniquely implemented in a different context.
  • Either the Southern Baptist Convention or Kentucky Baptist Convention. Write a 3-page response concerning the importance and efficiency of partnering with the conventions for the sake of the Great Commission. 

Attach reports to the annual checklist when completed.

Read the required books for each year and provide a two-page review for each one including a brief summary, critical analysis, and benefit for ministry:

All book reviews are to be 2 pages and all reports are to be 3 pages, double-spaced with 12 pt Times New Roman font 1-inch margins. 

Attached checklists below to Observational Reports and Book Reviews as a cover. All work should be printed and turned in by December 15th each year.