When people think about Interns, they might instinctively conjure up images of us moving chairs, chatting to people on the streets or leading various roles in various capacities (e.g. worship leading). In other words, the visible ways we serve others. But just as significant is the personal growth that is not so visible.
One of the most invaluable aspects of the programme thus far has been the theological teaching. Having come from a conservative evangelical background, and then subsequently at the age of 20 thrust into a charismatic pentecostal expression, Kings has helped me to strike a good balance between the two. It’s amazing to be at a church that is determined to be based on the Bible, and at the same time determined to be open to the Spirit’s work.
I remember early on in first term receiving teaching about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Now this has been a personal issue of contention, the disagreements even tragically tearing apart my church at home. Yet thirty minutes of solid biblical teaching was all it took to give me the answers I’d sought for years. (If you’re curious, come talk to me.) I remember exclaiming: ‘Why didn’t I know this five years ago? It’d have saved me and my church so much pain and trouble!’ This has led me to explore Spirit-baptism in more depth by writing my Historical Theology essay on it, hopefully to help people avoid making the same mistakes!
I greatly value the emphasis placed on personal response and application. Nothing we learn is simply for the sake of gaining knowledge, but rather to bring about greater maturity as we are transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ. Yes, we learn the order of the ancient empires and which prophets existed during which time period (so helpful when reading the Old Testament!) We also learn about practical ways to pastorally care for others, ways to do mission cross-culturally.
Sometimes the application gets so personal, it brings much-needed breakthrough! Last month, we had a session on healing and deliverance, studying various biblical examples. As we talked about how one of the causes could be demonic, I felt an uncomfortable movement and sensation in my stomach—the site of much chronic pain, and often in the past used by the enemy to bring physical/spiritual oppression. This was no coincidence; we prayed for healing. Since then, my stomach has been significantly better, praise God!
So much of this year is a vital equipping for the future, establishing a biblical foundation of truth on which to stand firm. But the Lord isn’t wasting any time, putting our newfound knowledge and wisdom to practice, bringing freedom and transformation not just through us to others, but also to us ourselves.