resignation (part iv)
this part of the story is a bit detailed so u may want 2 get something to sip and/or nibble on before u dive into it.
before beginning my second summer in alpine i already had the wheels rolling on hiring an intern to work with me specifically in the youth area. i wanted to bring along a college student who showed leadership potential and help them develop by giving them the opportunity to plan events and interact with our group on various occasions.
to this end i had been scouting the local baptist student ministries group at sul ross state university for about a year and decided to pursue the internship with their newly elected president who was in the process of looking forward to senior year and making choices for the future. on several occasions an interest in ministry had been the topic of our discussions so i prayed and looked for a way to make it happen.
a friend in the bgct helped the situation greatly by informing me of some special funds specifically for bsm interns which made our proposal to the youth committee at the church all the more compelling. with a written set of expectations and an agreement with the bgct for funding we presented the idea to the complete approval of the committee and brot on the intern at the first of the summer.
everything was falling into place.
the goal was to prepare and to accomplish this i opened up my office and home on a daily basis and we shared life and learning. i gave the intern assignments that included everything from using internet sites such as www.biblestudytools.com to research and learn about biblical passages and/or theological concepts to developing a 3 on 3 youth basketball tournament with local sponsorship.
it happened that my wife was due in june and after our third little one was born we learned she had underdeveloped lungs and would be forced to stay in the nicu for a while. the intern stepped up and served admirably as i attended the needs of my family – working on assignments and accompanying the pastor and youth to summer camp. when the baby was home and things settled a bit we took our annual trip to a music festival in midland tx called rock the desert.
i could tell the youth were really growing attached and their comfortable interaction with the intern was exactly wot id been hoping for. this paved the way for the intern to take on more leadership in the group. as the summer passed id been trying to share some steps for preparing bible studies and worship with the intern. the plan was to turn the reigns over to him once a month going into the fall – allowing him to gain valuable experience he could use either in future ministry endeavors or in work-related situations.
everything was going well.
fall semester started and we re-arranged our schedule accordingly – allowing the intern shortened hours and decreasing the workload to make sure schoolwork and athletic activities didnt suffer. the expectation was to be at regularly scheduled youth events and spend a few hours with me every week.
i have to admit at this point that i failed to be the encouraging mentor i should have been. one of the primary reasons for problems in ministry is having so much going on that personal prayer and bible study get neglected. i failed to remain engaged in these activities as i should have and failed to encourage the intern to do the same.
this would soon become an issue.
not long after school started back up i was made aware of drinking parties taking place at the interns home. there were three roommates and the other two were complaining and asking for advice. as the story unfolded i learned that some of the ones drinking at these events were underage. given the delicate nature of our position and the way small towns work i talked with the intern about the situation – encouraging a no drinking policy but allowing for christ to be the final word on the matter.
still – i made it very clear that wotever the decision all future possibilities could not involve anyone underage. after the conversation i informed the pastor of the situation. his advice didnt waver from how i handled the situation so i felt confident moving forward that the issue would be resolved.
a month later i received another report from the roommates and an additional friend of the intern that the parties and underage drinking had continued unabated. again i made the pastor aware of the situation. he continued to advise that i handle the problem solely with the intern and so i attempted to pursue that course but all communication deteriorated rapidly to the point that by the holidays we werent talking. he showed up at a few youth events but remained unapproachable.
after new years the pastor and i agreed that the intern be given a final opportunity to either alter the situation or resign from the position. a resignation letter followed about 2 weeks later but it seemed like there was a lot of unresolved tension and confusion about the situation from the intern as well as the parents. following the lead of the pastor to protect the reputation of the intern we did not to make public the reason for the resignation but that would eventually feed into the existing lack of trust.
and the end was much nearer than i expected.