Internship FAQs

What can I expect?

Each department runs a unique student internship program. Your weekly routine will vary depending on the ministry season and needs of the specific department. On average, each Willow Creek intern is asked to:

  • Commit to 20 hours per week (50% around weekend service times and 50% onsite for ministry and development meetings).
  • Engage in weekly strategy meetings with your ministry team and/or staff partners.
  • Gain practical ministry experience through tasks and projects that provide maximum impact to those we serve.
  • Grow your skills through weekly teaching and coaching from mentors and experts.
  • Be an integral part of the team.
  • Take part in monthly learning and development sessions organized by Willow Creek’s executive team and Human Resources department.


What are the minimum requirements for applying to the program?

Internship applications may be submitted by current college or graduate students. Although being a regular attender at Willow Creek is not a requirement, we do ask that interns demonstrate a lifestyle that reflects Christ and affirm an alignment to the church’s beliefs and values. As with any key volunteer or staff member at Willow Creek, all applicants must pass a criminal background check and pastoral screening before being accepted into the internship.


Do you offer programs for those who are no longer students, but want to gain practical ministry experience?

If you feel called to transition from the marketplace to ministry, or if you have recently graduated with a master’s-level degree, you may be eligible to participate in a Pastoral Leadership Experience. These customized, unpaid experiences are available to those who have demonstrated an aptitude for leadership and possess transferable leadership or pastoral skills. This program is uniquely tailored to the specific needs of a ministry or regional congregation. Individuals interested in this opportunity may send a cover letter and resume to Tara VanderSande at [email protected]


What’s the typical length of an internship?

12–16 weeks.


Can I extend my internship into the next season?

Yes, you can be considered to continue your internship into the next season.


Are both part-time and full-time internships available?

Our student internship program is part-time only (20 hours per week).


Will I receive payment or benefits?

No. While internships are unpaid and benefits aren’t offered to interns, you will gain valuable firsthand experience in a career field you’re passionate about, and you may ask your supervisor to write you a letter of recommendation upon completion of your internship quarter.


Are housing and transportation offered?

No. Participants are responsible for providing their own transportation and finding their own lodging.


How do I earn college credit?

Since the requirements at each school are unique, you are responsible for ensuring that the internship meets the needs of your college’s program. We will work with your institution to determine the viability of our program in meeting the requirements of your degree prior to your acceptance.


Can I work while participating in the internship?

Yes, interns may work outside of the church.


Are there any job guarantees after I complete my internship?

A completed internship does not guarantee any future paid staff positions at Willow Creek. At the completion of your internship, you are welcomed to discuss possible open positions in your field with your supervisor.


What standards am I expected to uphold?

A Willow Creek intern should reflect a life that is in submission to Christ and under the authority of Scripture. We ask that all interns read and affirm our church’s beliefs and values. In addition, all volunteer leaders, interns, and staff must be able to affirm the expectations in the Leadership Covenant.


Can I get a taste of what the program might be like before applying?

While internship positions are limited, volunteerism is not! We encourage everyone to discover, develop, and utilize their spiritual gifts within the local church. If you’re interested in pursuing a Willow Creek internship, you can test the waters first by volunteering for a short-term ministry project alongside the team you’d like to intern with. Complete a volunteer inquiry form here.