Like any pastor, a Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) campus pastor has limited resources for discipling, evangelizing, and counseling college students. But when he has RUF interns, the ministry’s impact can increase dramatically.
The RUF Internship Program is growing 13 percent per year, and RUF intern coordinator Mitch Gindlesperger hopes the program will continue to grow until all 140 RUF ministries have one male and one female intern.
Interns are college graduates who typically attended RUF during college. RUF places them on a campus for two years to minister to college students while being mentored by the campus pastor. Interns raise about $62,000 on average for the two years.
“Through recruitment and the interview process, we get a feel for the person and where they might thrive, but not easily,” Gindlesperger said. “We want to put them someplace where they will grow and be challenged.”
Some interns find that the experience confirms their desire to pursue seminary training and full-time ministry, but many proceed into the secular workforce. Gindlesperger said interns often describe the internship experience as an entrepreneurial endeavor in which they build a financial base and a student network.
Sarah Estopinal is building that network right now as an RUF intern in New York City at City Campus, an RUF ministry to the city’s many colleges.
New York hardly resembles Estopinal’s hometown of Huntsville, Ala., and it presents unique challenges for creating community among many different campuses. She also must raise $50,000 each year to cover the cost of living in an expensive city.
Still, Estopinal has loved having conversations with students during which she can connect the Gospel with things she loves such as literature and academics.
“New York provides a forum to show students that faith and knowledge aren’t separate. Doing RUF is loving the university,” she said.
For more information on RUF internships, visit http://www.ruf.org/internship.