Notes from Former Gordon-Conwell Interns

David Birnie
2019 intern; 2020 Gordon-Conwell graduate; Campus Minister, Reformed University Fellowship, University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
“The First Church winter internship gave me a much more robust picture of the church. Before seminary, I had done two years of campus ministry at Stanford and then worked with our church youth group for six years. I am back doing college ministry now, and due to the internship, I have a greater appreciation of the whole church. I want to send college students into the church to set them up for a lifetime of following Jesus, and the internship gave me a bigger picture of what that looks like. Working with Doug Pratt on leading worship, pastoral care, and various other pastoral responsibilities greatly impacted how I minister to current college students. The college years are ripe with watershed moments and pointing these students toward Christ… is such a privilege. Thank you for giving me such a fruitful experience!” -Rev. David Birnie

Ju-In Lee
2018 intern; 2021 Gordon-Conwell graduate; Doctoral student in Christian Counseling, Fuller Theological Seminary
“Beloved First Church family: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being an important vessel of God in making this day [graduation] reality… and thereby participating in this story of God’s that He is writing in and through my life. To God be all the glory! I remain with deep love, prayer for you, and eternal gratitude.” -Ju-In Lee

Randall Wetzig
2020 intern; 2021 Gordon-Conwell graduate; Staff member, Park Street Church (Boston, MA)
“I want to say thank you… for all the work, thoughtfulness, and prayers First Church has put into the scholarship program and internship. [Seminary] would not have been possible for me otherwise, and my time there in Florida gave me so much hope. I will be praying for you [Pastor Doug] and the church and hope to see you sometime soon.” -Randall Wetzig

Stephen Clark
Inaugural Pratt Scholarship recipient; 2018 intern; 2019 Gordon-Conwell graduate; Pastor, First Presbyterian Church (Corinth, NY)
“Your generosity enabled me to graduate seminary debt-free in 2019… It is not an exaggeration to say that First Church’s scholarship radically altered the course of my life in March 2016… A brand-new scholarship had just been approved for me, which suddenly made it possible for me to attend [seminary]. I changed all my plans that week, enrolled at Gordon-Conwell, began training for the ministry where I now serve, and met my future wife. Without your generosity, in every sense of the phrase, I would not be where I am today. “I am especially grateful for the internship at First Church, which gave me on-the-ground training for the most challenging aspects of ministry—which, for me, was a funeral. I lost my mom to cancer when I was five, so funerals and death were especially difficult. I feared I would not have the emotional or spiritual capacity to conduct a funeral as a pastor. But one afternoon during the internship brought us to a funeral home, where I encountered death in an up-close way that I had long avoided. I do not doubt that my internship at Bonita Springs and that experience… was a vital cog in equipping me with the skills and wisdom necessary. But more importantly, it provided me with the deep spiritual confidence that in the face of death, Jesus cares, and Jesus wins. “Thanks, to all of you, for being a part of my story—and for helping me become part of a bigger one.” -Rev. Stephen Clark

Nathaniel Lee
Pratt Scholarship recipient; 2019 intern; 2020 Gordon-Conwell graduate; Associate Pastor, Center Grace Church (Danvers, MA)
“The scholarship and internship at First Church were incredibly formative for me as I trained for ministry and discerned where God was calling me. The Doug Pratt Scholarship singlehandedly enabled me to pursue God’s calling to pastoral ministry, and for that, I am very grateful. The internship also gave me an inside perspective on how large churches operate… It was a true joy to have Pastor Doug’s perspective on topics ranging from developing a global missions strategy to coordinating with funeral directors. “This unique internship gives pastors-in-training a variety of tools, frameworks, and experiences that they can later use and adapt to their specific context. The opportunity to meet with multiple pastors and leaders serving in various areas gave me a vision for running a variety of ministries. Perhaps the most transformative and encouraging element was being invested in by a community that cares about the church. “It can be discouraging to minister here on the north shore of Boston because there are far fewer Christians and churches than anywhere else in the U.S. Sometimes when I am discouraged by isolation or lack of fruit in ministry, I am reminded of the generosity, hospitality, intentionality, and kindness poured into us during our internship. It was the relationships like these that encouraged me when I felt incredibly in over my head. “The words of 1 Thessalonians 2:8 remind me of the love I received during my time in Bonita Springs: ‘we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.’ I am truly thankful for the scholarship received, the internship experience, and the relationships formed with the First Church staff and congregation.” -Rev. Nathaniel Lee