Young black interns sought to explore pastoral ministry

January 16, 2024 | | Racial Justice, Journey of Hope, GNJ News, Next Generation Ministries

A unique Greater New Jersey Conference internship established in 2022 to recruit and help youth and young adults of African descent to “discern and clarify their call to ministry” is entering its third year. The Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) caucus and Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century (SBC-21) initiative developed the internship with support from GNJ’s Connectional Table.

Zachary Holder, of Roselle United Methodist Church, completes the second yearlong internship in June, after interning at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Montclair since July 2023. The hope is that a third intern will follow him in July.

Monica Grady, of The Church of the Good Shepherd UMC in Willingboro, preceded him as the first intern, serving at Haddonfield UMC in 2022-2023.

Initially called the Home-Grown Recruitment Internship as a pilot project, the pre-ministerial recruitment and orientation initiative is intended to help young Black participants discover a call to ministry in their lives and possibly become successful pastors or leaders in GNJ churches. It is a response to a scarcity of Black Elders with full clergy status in GNJ, as in other conferences.

The internship is funded through GNJ’s Journey of Hope Plan, which seeks to help congregations end the sin of racism and make GNJ more inclusive in developing transformational leaders. 

Recommendations sought from clergy leaders

Once again, recommendations are being sought from clergy leaders to help identify youth and young adult prospects, ages 16 to 25, who manifest possible gifts for ministry, as demonstrated by their current work in local churches. The next internship will begin July 1 and end June 30, 2025.

Applicants will undergo a selection process before acceptance into the program. Those accepted will be expected to work in a church–primarily a Black or multiracial church–for 20 hours a week, including Sundays,

Applicants will undergo a selection process before acceptance into the program. Those accepted will be expected to work in a church for 20 hours a week, including Sundays, aided by the pastor, staff and key church leaders. They will earn a $10,000 honorarium for the year.

Interested, eligible persons will need a recommendation from their pastor and written approval from their church’s Staff-Parish Relations Committee (SPRC). Completed applications and recommendations should be emailed to Rosa Williams at by the May 30 application deadline.

Interns and pastors of participating churches will receive an orientation to the program. Interns may not be assigned to the church that recommends them.

For more information, read the letter requesting pastors’ recommendations or contact Rosa Williams of the Internship Program Committee at or 201-833-0352. Use the Pastor’s Recommendation and BMCR Intern applications below.

2024 Pastor Recommendation Internship Application

2024 BMCR Intern Application

Main photo: Monica Grady (with flowers) served as the first BMCR/SBC-21 intern at Haddonfield UMC, with support of pastors and other leaders