Our Purpose

Seminary classrooms have much to offer in ministry preparation, but classrooms alone cannot prepare a man to shepherd God's flock. Pastoral ministry is a craft learned from pastors. Cornerstone's elders are committed to handing on the wisdom we have gained from years of training and experience to the next generation of leaders (2 Tim. 2:2).

We offer the opportunity to participate in a ten month, part-time pastoral internship that runs from August through June of each year. Our goal is to train men in the development of knowledge, character, and skills required for service as church planters, pastors, and missionaries who will faithfully serve Christ and his church as we participate together in the fulfillment of Jesus’ Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20).

 

Our Method

In order to develop the knowledge base of our pastoral interns, we work through a reading list together that is focused on developing competence in biblical theology, the doctrine of the church, the defense of the faith, missiology, and select theological issues that are pressing today, such as biblical sexuality, the doctrine of the atonement, and the doctrine of justification. Pastoral interns meet weekly with the program director, Pastor Aaron O'Kelley, for theological discussion on the readings with the aim of implementing the knowledge gained in practical ministry.
 
In order to develop the character of our pastoral interns, Cornerstone's elders seek to pastor them well, to guide them in addressing Scripture to their own hearts, to hold them accountable to moral standards worthy of the office of elder, to shepherd them either in marriage or toward marriage (as applicable), to help them fight sin that remains in them, and to cultivate in them a deeper love for God and for the church. The broader life of the Cornerstone church community plays an essential role in shaping the hearts of our leaders-in-training.
 
In order to develop the skills of our pastoral interns, we invite them to join the staff for weekly oversight meetings, to join the elders for monthly elders' meetings or retreats, and to involve themselves progressively in public preaching, teaching, and leadership as they develop through training in these skills. We also give our interns the freedom to explore their own unique gifts with opportunities to pioneer and develop new or undeveloped ministries in the life of our church.
 
Members or pastors of other churches are welcome to participate in Cornerstone's internship to the extent possible for them. We are eager to train brothers at various levels of participation in order to help strengthen other churches.
 
Pastoral interns who are interested in pursuing seminary credit can earn up to 18 hours through the Ministry Apprenticeship Program of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition, Jackson, Tennessee, is the location of an extension center of SBTS, where classes are offered on Monday nights toward the completion of a Master of Divinity degree. We train seminarians, non-seminarians, and seminary graduates, but seminarians in particular have ample opportunities with us to benefit from both the training of pastors in a church setting while also learning in a seminary classroom.
 
Some of our intern positions are paid, part-time positions, and others are unpaid positions with less responsibility. Our model is flexible and adaptable to the individual needs of our interns.
 
If you have questions about our program, you can submit them here.
 

To fill out an application for our pastoral internship, click here.