Before Sam Roberts became an intern with Atlanta’s Summer Training Program, Inside Atlanta, he thought of vocation in two distinct categories.
“There were Christians who go into ministry to make disciples,” Sam says, “and there were Christians who go into the marketplace, end up burning out, and are not lifelong laborers.”
Through Inside Atlanta, a paid internship program that matches young believers with Christian business owners in their desired field, Sam and his nine fellow interns have gained new perspective on what it means to serve God.
Salt and Light
“The big idea behind the summer program is to simulate the transition from college into the workplace,” says David Bachman, Inside Atlanta program director and Navs campus director at Vanderbilt University. “We then train and shepherd the interns through the head-on collision they are likely to face with the realities of the marketplace. This year, we have two teams of five guys, most of them juniors and seniors in college. The program goal is to be a game-changer in helping them really thrive after graduation in their walk with God, in their community, in their work, and in their intentional impact.”
Interns work with Christian business owners—many with Navigator backgrounds—for mentoring, shadowing, and hands-on work experience. Each intern is also paired with a staff or non-staff Navigator for additional one-on-one discipleship. They are trained to work with excellence, and to let their faith transform every facet of life—work included. The program is expanding to receive both male and female interns for the summer of 2015.
“We’re looking for students who are spiritually hungry and professionally excellent,” says Atlanta’s Nav20s leader John Starke. “We’re giving them a real preview of what it looks like to labor beyond the campus for the rest of their lives.”
Collaboration and Inspiration
One of the most exciting aspects of this now two-year-old program is the level of collaboration involved, John says.
“This is a really great way for Collegiate and Nav20s to partner. With time, there’s great opportunity for that partnership to expand. We’ve got tracks laid for it being not just one Nav ministry’s program, but one that’s really owned and contributed to by a number of different ministries. I think this is a gold mine. It would be exhilarating to have similar programs in cities like Los Angeles and New York.”
David echoes that excitement.
“If we can establish strong connections with certain networks, particularly within the business community, I think this program can be reproduced in other cities,” David says. “This kind of Summer Training Program is highly transferable. It is so relevant to the average student’s life-after-college experience, which is likely to be in a city.”
For interns like Sam, Inside Atlanta is not only relevant in the short-term—it’s inspiration for the long-term.
“The ripple effects from this summer are going to run deep throughout the rest of my life,” Sam says. “It has become clear to me that there is no such thing as a ‘sacred’ or ‘secular’ career. Either you are a lifelong laborer for God’s Kingdom, or you are not. Laborers are missionaries wherever they are.”
Learn more about the Navs Workplace Mission