By / Jul 29

In this episode, Lindsay talks to this summer’s interns in D.C. and Nashville. They talk about what they’ve learned and how churches can help equip young people to respond biblically to the culture. They also give a peek behind the scenes at the ERLC. 

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  • Dobbs Resource Page | The release of the Dobbs decision marks a true turning point in the pro-life movement, a moment that Christians, advocates and many others have worked toward tirelessly for 50 years. Let us rejoice that we live in a nation where past injustices can still be corrected, as we also roll our sleeves up to save preborn lives, serve vulnerable mothers, and support families in our communities. To get more resources on this case, visit ERLC.com/Dobbs.
  • Sexual Ethics Resource Page | Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the constant stream of entertainment and messages that challenge the Bible’s teachings on sexual ethics? It often feels like we’re walking through uncharted terrority. But no matter what we face in our ever-shifting culture, God’s design for human sexuality has never changed. The ERLC’s new sexual ethics resource page is full of helpful articles, videos, and explainers that will equip you to navigate these important issues with truth and grace. Get these free resources at ERLC.com/sexualethics.
By / Dec 2

This was a unique year for the ERLC interns as the program moved online. Rather than working together in the Leland House, the ERLC’s Capitol Hill office, students joined the policy team from all over the country. For this week’s episode after Thanksgiving, the interns joined Jeff Pickering and Brooke Kramer to reflect on their favorite projects, memorable meetings through Zoom, and what it’s like to be a college student during a global pandemic.

Our internship program exists to prepare students and young professionals with a gospel-centered, kingdom-focused perspective on the issues of everyday life. We offer semester and year-long programs with both of our offices in Nashville and D.C.

This episode is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of the advent family devotional, A Better Than Anything Christmas. Find out more about this book at thegoodbook.com.

Guest Biography

In this episode you will hear from Justin, Sam, Jackson, and Seth – our 2020 fall interns with the ERLC team in Washington, D.C.

Resources from the Conversation

By / Aug 26

Washington, D.C., runs on adrenaline and 20-somethings. Young interns are always zooming from one place to another, doing their part in the running of this country. I’m one of them; but this summer, we all Zoomed a little differently.

Instead of finding an apartment, booking a flight, and showing up to the office in my new power outfit, I made the trek from my bed to my desk—less than five feet. My professional clothes hung unused in my closet, except for a jacket in case of a Zoom call with a politician. In our onboarding sessions, rather than asking where everyone comes from, we asked “Where are you quarantined?” Instead of sharing space with other interns or tagging along to Capitol Hill meetings, my time was structured into blocks on a Google calendar and squares on a Zoom call as I filed away my list of D.C. sights to explore. One afternoon, an intern joined our call from a coffee shop, and we all realized how shocked we were to see a public space open again. 

I became frustrated with myself when I couldn’t stir up the motivation to write that one paragraph or read more chapters or schedule another networking meeting. I’m a huge extrovert; I get energized when in a group, at a library, or working in a coffee shop. But doing all of this online did not give me the same energy that I would have if I were actually in D.C. Yet, I’m thankful we still had the opportunity to intern when many found their summer plans canceled. 

God’s work cannot be hindered by a virus

Rather than cancelling completely, my supervisors chose to painstakingly recreate the intern program, trying to make up for the losses of in-person interactions. I could have deferred the internship, and this was also a tempting offer. Why not wait until things get back to normal and go get my D.C. experience then? But waiting for conditions to be “perfect” would have been a mistake for me. If even the Supreme Court pushes on and still manages to hand down decisions, why shouldn’t I continue to work as well? 

I don’t know when my city will fully reopen; I don’t even know what life will be like when I move back to school for my senior year. But I do know that waiting for things to be perfectly aligned in what I envision is counterproductive. Work doesn’t halt; it simply relocates. Injustice doesn’t care that there’s a pandemic. Uyghur Muslims are still persecuted, and human trafficking victims are still in danger even when a new disease ravages the world. There are still experiences to be had and lessons to be learned even from a laptop screen in the same room every day.

Patience can fit all formats

Interning remotely meant I needed more explanation with less time to get a handle on things. It meant I got all my information through Slack and emails, which became an issue when the internet cut out as a result of being overburdened at my house. It’s hard to determine inference or how someone is really feeling, which meant my strongest people skills initially felt obsolete in this format. My internship became a time of active waiting. These terms sound paradoxical, but they perfectly describe the daily choice I had to make to work hard even when I didn’t know what would happen next. 

Every time I was kicked off a Zoom meeting due to internet issues, I tried to take a moment to breathe rather than groan and frantically click whatever I could to restore connectivity. I pushed myself to attend virtual coffee hours, game nights, and networking meetings because there are still stories to hear and friends to make. Seeing my supervisors work so hard to teach us well while also completing important work inspired me to do the same. Because others showed patience and understanding to me, I was motivated to give the same to others. This outlook of persistently pursuing connections and practicing patience turned what could have been a frustrating battle against technology into a richly rewarding internship and life experience.

God uses all situations for his glory and my benefit

An internship is not the pinnacle of this summer; it is the outflowing of a God-given initiative to discover his handiwork where it is evident and to seek biblical reform where it is not. I was taught about convictional kindness, human dignity, biblical diversity, and why I think office suits should become obsolete after the pandemic. We debated the death penalty, church culture, cancel culture, racial inequalities, tribalism, and more, but all encased with respect and care. 

These kinds of conversations can, ironically, become more productive in a Zoom setting; one person spoke at a time rather than shouting over someone else. God sent me a variety of projects to work on and amazing people to work with. He offered new connections I could make over one-on-one Zoom calls and hilarious memories related to the question of the day asked during group activities. 

That list of places to explore is still waiting for me. Someday I’ll make my way to D.C., but I’m not in charge of that decision. And that’s okay. God redirected my plans, and although difficult, he turned it into one of my best summers. I logged off my last ERLC Zoom meeting better equipped as a child of God and more knowledgeable of his work in the world. He used my doubts and the world’s uncertainty to show how he can bring good out of anything, and I am better for being a part of it. 

In his book, Onward, Russell Moore points out that our lives are an “internship for the eschaton: “Our lives now are shaping us and preparing us for a future rule, and that includes the honing of a conscience and a sense of wisdom, prudence, and justice. God is teaching us, as he taught our Lord, to learn in little things how to be in charge of great things.”

My little thing this summer was an internship. Only God knows how it will be used or what the next great thing will be. But I’m learning to seek after God’s shaping rather than enforce my “perfect” plans. 

By / Jul 28

This was a unique summer for the ERLC interns as the program moved online. The students who would have been in the Washington office but interned with us from all over the country, join Jeff Pickering and Brooke Kramer to reflect on their experience. The group discusses their favorite projects, memorable meetings through Zoom, and what it’s like to be a college student during a global pandemic.

Our internship program exists to prepare students and young professionals with a gospel-centered, kingdom-focused perspective on the issues of everyday life. We offer semester and year-long programs with both of our offices in Nashville and D.C.

Guest Biography

In this episode you will hear from Mary Beth, Julia, Juliana, Carolina, Jackson, Sloan, and Seth – our 2020 summer interns with the ERLC team in Washington, D.C.

Resources from the Conversation

By / May 6

As spring fades to summer, ERLC intern Hannah Daniel joins Jeff Pickering, Chelsea Patterson Sobolik, and Brooke Kramer to reflect on her experiences. The group discusses favorite projects, memorable meetings on Capitol Hill, and how the coronavirus pandemic changed everything.

Our internship program exists to prepare students and young professionals with a gospel-centered, kingdom-focused perspective on the issues of everyday life. We offer semester and year-long programs in both of our offices in Nashville and D.C. The ERLC is dedicated to seeing each generation engage the culture with the gospel of Christ. For more information and to apply, visit ERLC.com/internships.

This episode is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of Talking Points: Abortion by Dr Lizzie Ling & Vaughan Roberts  

Resources from the Conversation

By / Sep 5

As the summer wrapped up, the ERLC interns in Washington joined Jeff Pickering to reflect on their experiences. The group discusses their favorite projects, memorable meetings on Capitol Hill, and laughable moments at the Leland House.

Our internship program exists to prepare students and young professionals with a gospel-centered, kingdom-focused perspective on the issues of everyday life. We offer semester and year-long programs in both of our offices in Nashville and D.C. The ERLC is dedicated to seeing each generation engage the culture with the gospel of Christ. For more information and to apply, visit ERLC.com/internships.

This episode was recorded on August 2.

Guest Biography

In this conversation you will hear from Kiah, Alyssa, Lacey, Eva, Marcus, Dani, Neal, and Nick – our 2019 summer interns in the ERLC office in Washington, D.C. They came to the Leland House from all over the country and are interested in faith, politics, and how to engage culture as followers of Christ.

Resources from the Conversation

By / Jan 1

The 2018 ERLC interns join Jeff Pickering to talk about their experience in D.C.

The group discusses their favorite policy projects, memorable meetings on Capitol Hill, and laughable moments at the Leland House.

Our internship program exists to prepare students and young professionals with a gospel-centered, kingdom-focused perspective on the issues of everyday life. We offer semester and year-long programs in both of our offices in Nashville and D.C. The ERLC is dedicated to seeing each generation engage the culture with the gospel of Christ. For more information and to apply, visit ERLC.com/internships.

Guest Biography

In this conversation you will hear from Simona, Kelsey, Brooke, Esther, Nathan, Jaston, Scott, Matthew, Amanda, and Zach – our 2018 interns from the ERLC office in Washington, D.C. They came to the Leland House from all over the country and are interested in faith, politics, and how to engage culture as followers of Christ.

Resources from the Conversation

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By / Sep 5

For the Southern Baptist Convention's ethics entity, its internship program provides an opportunity to influence future Christian leaders. For its interns, it can bring a new direction in life.

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) completed in recent weeks its summer program with multiple interns in both of its offices — Nashville and Washington, D.C. The goal of the internship program, which also is in effect at other times of the year, is to equip undergraduate and graduate students, as well as young professionals, with a "Gospel-centered, kingdom-focused perspective" on ethical and religious freedom issues, according to the ERLC.

"Some of the most important work we do is invest in the next generation of leaders," said Travis Wussow, who leads the ERLC's Washington office as general counsel and vice president for public policy. 

"We're proud to attract the very best young Christians from around the country to spend a semester with our team on Capitol Hill," he said in written comments to Baptist Press. "We train to send these rising leaders of faith back out to serve in our churches, academic institutions, law and government for many years to come."

Daniel Darling, who is based in the Nashville office as vice president for communications, said the ERLC is "grateful for the opportunity, every summer, to invest in the next generation of leaders."

"This year we were overjoyed to host interns from America's leading institutions including many of our great Baptist colleges," he noted in written comments. "Every time we do this we come away impressed with how God is raising up a new generation of leaders who will press the Gospel into the important issues of their own time." 

In recent years, the ERLC interns have included students from graduate schools such as Yale Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary, Talbot School of Theology and Wake Forest School of Law; from universities such as Florida State, Texas A&M, Missouri, American, Loyola, Louisiana Tech and Troy; from Baptist institutions such as Union University and Liberty University; and from other Christian schools such as John Brown University, Taylor University and Patrick Henry College.

The ERLC designs the internships to help participants develop spiritually and professionally. 

In Washington, the intern development includes book reading and discussion, as well as the conversations on ethics among staff and interns that flow from them. Participants are involved in Washington-area churches, many that sponsor Bible studies for interns, according to the ERLC.

In Nashville, it involves book reading and discussion, staff-led Bible studies and theological/professional training, blog writing and a presentation on an ethical issue to staff and other interns.

Mary Wurster, prepared her presentation as a Nashville intern this summer. A senior at Taylor University in Upland, Ind., Wurster tackled the ethics of pharmacological neurological enhancement, which is the use of drugs to increase brain function beyond normal.

"Researching and presenting a discussion on this topic expanded my interest in the field of biomedical ethics to the point that I am now considering continuing my education in this area," she told BP in an email interview. 

The "icing on the cake" for Wurster came when her revision of the presentation into an article was published on the ERLC's website. 

Zachary Jones, a recent graduate of Florida State University, told BP he learned "what it means to maintain a public faith in the political arena" during his summer 2017 internship in the Washington office.

"As I sat in on meetings with members of Congress and the executive branch, I watched ERLC staff members speak clearly on issues Southern Baptists care about and witnessed the power and attraction of a Christian attitude of convictional kindness, even in secular audiences," he said in an email interview. "During our weekly intern book discussions, I learned how the Gospel connects with making schedules, sending emails and doing my work towards the glory of God."

The ERLC also designs the program for meaningful input from the interns in both offices.

Responsibilities in the Washington office include analyzing federal legislation, drafting policy briefs to explain the ERLC's positions, participating in the commission's friend-of-the-court briefing practice, attending congressional hearings and helping support entity events on Capitol Hill. In the Nashville office, interns perform research, aid with website design and other projects, produce content for the website, assist in event planning and help with strategic initiatives among their duties.

Interning with the ERLC in the spring of this year aided Amanda Dixon in making the change from two years of overseas ministry with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.

The internship was "incredibly helpful in transitioning from having that kingdom mindset on the field to applying that same kingdom commitment to policy and the public square," said Dixon, now in her first year at Duke University School of Law. "It was an opportunity as I shifted into the legal and policy sphere to continue to apply biblical thought to how to process about what's going on in those areas."

Adoption and religious liberty in higher education were the issues she focused on most in her internship, Dixon told BP in an email interview. 

"Now that I'm in law school my day to day studying often seems abstract," she said. "From working on those issues, I can remember though that real laws affect real people and think back to the examples I learned while I was at the ERLC."

The benefits of Wurster's internship in Nashville included enabling her "to observe and learn from highly intelligent and committed individuals who are engaged in presenting a Christian worldview to a confused society," having the opportunity to take part in projects that "are meaningful and have an impact on the organization," working with other young people from across the United States and permitting her to develop her writing ability, she said. 

"Although I received academic credit for my summer internship, I would have gladly participated in this experience without that benefit," Wurster said. 

For Jones, his internship — and a research grant from his university — provided him the chance to travel internationally on behalf of religious freedom.

He went to Malaysia with ERLC staff members in the Washington office to meet with political and religious leaders regarding restrictions on Christians in that Southeast Asian country. Jones also traveled with ERLC staff to Geneva, Switzerland, to report on religious persecution and offer recommendations on religious freedom in Malaysia to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review.

"The whole process was a humbling experience, especially for someone who has just finished his undergraduate degree, but it has helped me to identify the policy matters which most matter to me," Jones said.

Information on the ERLC's internship program is available at erlc.com/about/internships.

By / Jul 31

Jeff Pickering and Matt Hawkins interview the ERLC’s 2017 team of D.C. interns to share a glimpse into life and vocation in Washington, D.C. The interns share their favorite experiences and what it’s like to work in the ERLC’s D.C. office.

ERLC Internships

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By / Apr 8

Are you passionate about addressing the moral and ethical issues of our day from a gospel-centered, kingdom-focused perspective? Do you desire to sharpen your leadership skills and equip yourself for the future? 

The ERLC offers two types of internships throughout the year:

  • Presidential internships – Presidential interns work closely with Russell Moore and other ERLC executive leaders in Nashville to contribute to the leadership, communications, and content strategy of the ERLC as the organization equips churches to address the major issues of our day.
  • Policy Internships – Policy interns work in Washington DC to support the ERLC’s efforts on policy and coalition work as the organization engages the public square from a gospel-centered vantage point.

If you are a college student, seminary student or young leader desiring to gain volunteer hands-on experience directly involved in issues that impact millions of people, then you should consider the ERLC Internship Program. 

Daniel Hurst shares about his 2013 internship experience.

Why did you want to do the ERLC internship?

My desire to do an internship with the ERLC grew out of a longing to see the gospel of Jesus Christ impact our culture, government, and public policy. I wanted to see how Christian ethics speaks to the pressing issues of our day. Having no knowledge of working with a policy institute, I knew the ERLC would develop me in many ways and provide me with opportunities I would not have outside the internship.

What did you learn through your ERLC internship?

The ERLC stretched me in unexpected ways. Not only did my research skills and writing improve as a result of the internship, but I also gained invaluable institutional knowledge. Furthermore, the ERLC gave me considerably broader interests in the field of ethics and opened my eyes to the myriad of ways men and women are influencing churches, politics, and our culture for the gospel.

What was a particular project you enjoyed working on during your ERLC internship?

I worked very closely with Andrew Walker, Director of Policy Studies. He would often give me small research projects to complete. One particular project he gave me on the issue of world hunger turned into a writing project that the ERLC published on their website. For someone who had never been published, this was a great honor.  

How can your internship experience help you with your future?

I plan to shortly begin doctoral studies in the field of ethics. The ERLC provided me with connections to some of the greatest evangelical thinkers of our day. The knowledge I gained from engaging in conversation with many of my colleagues at the ERLC has helped to shape many of my views and will surely prove invaluable in the future.

Who should consider doing the ERLC internship and why?

An internship with the ERLC is a great learning experience for anyone with an interest in Christian ethics, issues of religious liberty, or public policy. It will provide you with great, entry-level, intimate institutional knowledge, and it is sure to broaden you and deepen your convictions of what it means to impact our culture with the truths of the gospel.

In you're interested in applying, go here.

*ERLC interenships are unpaid