Reflections of an Intern - 18th Dec 2019

Tom Mepham Reflects on His Journey as an Intern


Five seconds ago, I was knee-deep in assignments. Suddenly I find myself here, having landed on the other side of the KCML internship, with not only the final block course wrapped up and notched into my belt but also having graduated with a Diploma of Ministry at a memorable First Church worship service. I probably wouldn’t go as far as calling it a miracle, but it does feel upon arrival as though it is nothing less than the power of God at work to have landed me, and us, safely at this place. 

What does it feel like to be here, I wonder? 

It feels like joy, like relief. As though it’s time to take a breath… and time to gear-up for action.

So as I stand alongside six fellow-(former) interns at this transition point, at the dividing line between endings and beginnings, it’s nice to pause and find space within the busyness of my life and heart to give thanks to God, with a deep and abiding sense of gratitude. 


Great are you Lord, and exceedingly worthy of praise; your power is immense and your wisdom beyond reckoning. And so we long to praise you. 


The KCML internship is a 22-month formation process designed to integrate theological backbone with love, raw and potent ministry capacities with rigour, and the laying down of one’s certainties in obedience to a broader vision. I have been interning at Student Soul, based around Otago University in Dunedin, and it has been a good place in which to undertake this training journey. 

Student Soul, despite it being a slightly different-than-usual organisational unit in the world of the PCANZ, has still offered most of the “standard” sorts of things that happen in church life. Firstly, the gathered worship service each week matters. It is a place where people are refreshed and encouraged to follow Christ, where we share aspects of our journeys together, where we encounter God through Word and Sacrament. So in this I have been formed as a preacher, as a leader of worship, as a pastor of a community. 

Secondly, it has been a fertile place for exploring new ways of connecting with people as we approach the third decade of this new millennium. Dunedin’s tertiary sector is a dynamic and lively place with students from across New Zealand and throughout the world making a temporary home here, and in many ways it provides an important case study to explore what it might mean for us as the church to participate in the mission of God. We have found small opportunities for that through our relationship with Salmond College, through creative acts of service on campus, and through a range of events. There are no easy answers, but with every month that goes by we gather more clues about how to faithfully engage young adults with the Gospel in our multi-cultural, globalised world.

Thirdly, it has been a congregation that has given me room to grow as an enabler of people, a cultivator of community, a discipler, a person who awakens new God-given potentials for love, service and creative action in others. It has been a congregation that is in touch with the pains, struggles and anxieties of student life – and in these places of suffering the Student Soul community has both experienced hurt and provided comfort. 

I’m thankful for what I’ve been through with KCML. I’ve been involved in church leadership through a variety of ministry situations for 15+ years now… but it’s safe to say that the last two have been the most intensive, the most stretching, the most expansive, and the most empowering. I used to be afraid that this would not be for me, that the internship would not honour who I was, that it would be a waste of two years, that it would limit me. All these fears I laid down before God as I increasingly came to trust that the Spirit was at work in the people of God, raising up super-diverse and capable leadership for the equipping of the saints, and that I could trust myself and my family to the processes of the PCANZ. It has been releasing, freeing, liberating. It has not been easy. But I would not take it back. 

I highly commend to anyone who has experienced a fullness of life in church leadership roles to consider whether God is inviting you into a training pathway such as Locally Ordained Ministry (LOM) or Nationally Ordained Ministry (NOM). Why not? Have you tasted the goodness of God in your life? Have you experienced moments of joy as you’ve served God’s people? Do you want your Church and churches to be led by skilled, creative and daring ministry practitioners – and do you want to be one of them? Well, maybe this is for you too. Following Jesus is an adventure, an opportunity, a doorway into a new future… so who’s to say what Christ might be calling you into? 

I’m delighted to that this season has arrived at an end, and that I get to “begin again” with Student Soul in 2020 and beyond. I want to thank the many people who have supported, encouraged, resourced, trained and prayed for me, and who in some way or other been a part of this journey of ministry formation. It’s my pleasure to be working with you, serving Christ as part of this uniquely wonderful and wonderful unique Church we call the PCANZ. My prayer for us heading into the summer is that we would grant ourselves permission to dream wildly, imaginatively and vividly about how we might faithfully join Christ in the ministry of reconciliation in 2020. 

May you know God’s abundant grace,


Tom Mepham





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