Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the average applicant?

Part-time internships are designed for current college students seeking vocational skill training in a ministry setting.  Full-time internships are designed for recent college graduates who have some ministry experience or work on a church staff, have demonstrated a potential for leadership, and are seeking to become a pastor, ministry leader, or church planter.  All interns must be over 18 years old and high school graduates to intern at Saddleback Church.  Individual internships have additional requirements listed on our Internship Opportunities pages.

What are the minimum requirements to be considered for the program?

Full-time interns: We require that all applicants have a college degree and some prior ministry experience, a personal and growing relationship with Jesus, a desire to pursue full-time ministry as a career, and alignment with Saddleback Church’s theology, values and ministry paradigm. However, if you feel you have a unique situation, let’s discuss it!

Part-time interns: Current college students, a personal and growing relationship with Jesus, and an interest in developing vocational skills in a ministry setting.  However, if you feel you have a unique situation, let’s discuss it!

Does Saddleback provide housing accommodations?

Saddleback Church seeks to provide a host home to full-time, year-long interns for the duration of the program.

Saddleback does not provide housing for part-time/seasonal interns.

If you have children or are married, we are unable to provide housing.

What about international applicants?

If you are an international student studying at an American educational institution with a student visa, you are eligible for an internship at Saddleback Church. Pairing grad school or a seminary education along with an internship will provide you a rich learning experience.

Who will supervise me?

You will be supervised by two primary people: the Intern Program Manager and the Direct Intern Supervisor of the ministry team you are placed with.

Can I work and be an intern at the same time?

Part-time interns may be able to work part-time hours while they intern (there are exceptions with certain roles—see our Internship Opportunities pages for more info). However, full-time and church planting interns may not, as these are full-time leadership development programs. The many things offered to you (mentoring, leadership training, coaching, skill training, strategic thinking, collaborative learning, etc.) that will help shape and prepare you for ministry will require a 40-50 hour week, which would make it unmanageable for you to take on a part-time job. We want you to have the energy, time, and focus to make the most out of your internship as well as balance the other priorities in your life.

Can I go to school and be an intern at the same time?

Yes! Our internships are geared toward current college students, recent graduates, or graduate/seminary students. We would love to work with you to accommodate your school schedule as you intern. For full-time interns, we offer academic partnerships with the following schools: Rockbridge Seminary, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, and Vanguard University. Saddleback interns are able to receive school credit through their internship at Saddleback through certain degree programs.

When can I start?

Full-time internships tracks begin each September, January, and May, with exceptions.

Part-time internships run during the following: Summer (May-August), Fall (September-December), and Spring (January –April), with exceptions—we work hard to accommodate students’ school schedules.

What is the admission process?

·         Submit application online (click here to begin!)

·         Interview with Intern Program Manager

·         References checked

·         Interview with team that you’re interested in

·         Theological Interview with Saddleback pastor

Does Saddleback give benefits to participants?

Saddleback does not offer benefits to interns. We will ask for proof of health and auto insurance before your internship starts.

Will I be paid as an intern?

No.  We strongly believe that if God has called you to this program, He will provide the way for you. Interns are fully responsible to raise their own support during the program. One of the prerequisites to leadership is being able to cast a vision and have others support it.

Is a married person eligible for an internship?

Yes. Your spouse will need to be included in your theological interview with a pastor as part of the application process.

What if I have children?

You are still eligible for the program.

Where is Saddleback?

We are one church with many locations! Our 13 Southern California campuses are located between Los Angeles and San Diego, with many of them landing in the Orange County area. Click here for more information about our locations.

Do I need a car?

Yes. Saddleback Church is one church in many locations. Participants could be assigned to various campuses throughout Southern California and work differing schedules based on each ministry’s unique needs. Each participant is responsible for providing for his or her own transportation. A car is a requirement to intern.

Who is Saddleback affiliated with?

Saddleback Church is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Are there any job guarantees after the program?

No.  Interning is NOT a pathway to employment at Saddleback.  There is NO guarantee of employment at Saddleback or outside of Saddleback after your program.

If you are looking for employment opportunities at Saddleback, click here.

Can I still intern even if I don't agree with Saddleback's theology?

We require that all of our participants complete a theological interview given by one of our pastors. Beyond the basic Christian beliefs, you will not have to hold the same denominational values as the Southern Baptist Convention, but we ask that you will respectfully comply with these denominational values during your internship with us.

What are the standards that participants must abide by?

Saddleback has outlined standards for living above reproach for all Saddleback staff. Program participants will be held to the same standards. We are required to sign a covenant including the following commitments:

  • Commit to refrain from activities that could cause a new believer to stumble such as: abusing prescription drugs, consuming alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs; or engaging in gambling of any type.
  • Commit to sexual purity, and commit only to dating another believer (if single).
  • Commit to living above reproach; this includes completely avoiding situations that may lead to temptation or may appear compromising.

Some examples that the staff has outlined are the following:

  • Ride alone with a married person of the opposite sex.
  • Go to lunch alone with a married person of the opposite sex.
  • Kiss or show questionable affection with a married person of the opposite sex.
  • Visit anyone of the opposite sex alone at home.
  • Counsel the opposite sex alone.
  • Discuss marriage or sexual problems with the opposite sex.
  • Have a member of the opposite sex spend the night (excluding family members of the opposite sex).

Will I be guaranteed to start the month that I apply for if I get my application in on time?

Due to uncontrollable variables, sometimes the application process can take some time. You are not guaranteed a start date. If the process isn’t complete by the starting month you applied for, you will be given the option of deferring to the next starting period, or withdrawing from the process.

Who pays for the cost of my visit to Saddleback?

If you decide to visit Saddleback Church, you are responsible for the cost of your visit, whether or not you are accepted into the program. We would encourage you to fly into John Wayne/Orange County Airport (SNA), because LAX is more than an hour away. Other near-by airports include Ontario and Long Beach.