The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) Internship Program provides a unique opportunity for emerging leaders to gain valuable professional advocacy experience, increase leadership skills and deepen their Christian walk and witness.
GBCS interns have:
- a passion for exploring the intersection of faith and justice issues from a personal, institutional and societal perspective;
- the capacity to grow in professional skills; and
- have an adventurous spirit to engage in a new and rewarding experience.
This hands-on program is designed to mentor and challenge today’s emerging leaders to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by:
- Relating the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Church, communities and the world in which we live;
- Bringing the whole of human life into conformity with the will of God;
- Showing that reconciliation involves personal, social and civic righteousness.
Interns working with GBCS staff and partners will do this by:
- Providing forthright witness and action on issues of human well-being, justice, peace and the integrity of creation that call Christians to respond;
- Conducting research, education and action on issues that confront The United Methodist Church;
- Analyzing long-range social trends and underlying ethical values;
- Exploring systematic strategies for social change and alternative futures;
- Speaking its conviction, interpretations and concerns to The United Methodist Church and the world; and
- Developing, promoting, training, organizing and building networks for action toward social justice throughout society on prioritized issues.
During this internship, expect to experience God …
Through community …
Many GBCS interns will live in one of two GBCS apartments at 110 Maryland Avenue NE, Washington, D.C. Living together in shared space will provide its own challenges, rewards and opportunities to grow in community through weekly evening devotions, seminars on topics of timely social-justice concern, and area field trips.
Through devotion …
Interns gather for devotions every Wednesday. These are times for centering, enjoying fellowship and reflecting on the myriad experiences that are part of the GBCS Internship Program.
Through work …
Applicants are matched with internship placements that engage in advocacy focused on public policy. Placements provide professional opportunities for interns to increase knowledge of social-justice issues, including:
- Alcohol and addictions
- Children's advocacy
- Civil and human rights
- Criminal-justice reform/restorative justice
- Economic justice and workers' rights
- Environmental justice/creation care
- Health care
- Hunger and poverty
- Immigration rights and reform
- United Nations and international law
- Women's advocacy and reproductive justice
And, develop skills in areas such as:
- Researching and writing
- Christian worship planning and education
- Administration and management
- Event planning and hospitality
- Leadership development
- Seminar/workshop design and facilitation
Many interns will be placed at GBCS while others will be placed with GBCS partners and coalition members.
GBCS offers two internship programs:
The GBCS Internship Program
Runs three sessions each year: Fall, Winter/Spring and Summer. Eligibility requirements (applicants must meet all requirements):
- Currently enrolled in an institution of higher education or employed full-time;
- Active leadership and participation in a local church, faith-based or community organization with involvement in social-justice activities; and
- At least 18 years of age.
The Ethnic Young Adult (EYA) Summer Internship
Runs from late May through early August for young adult persons of color who are members of The United Methodist Church. Eligibility requirements (applicants must meet all requirements):
- Member of The United Methodist Church (EYA program only);
- Age between 18 and 22 years old at the time of application (EYA program);
- Academic level of rising sophomore, junior or senior at time of application or employed full-time;
- Active leadership and participation in the local church/community and an involvement in social justice activities; and
- Self-identifies as a person of color.
All GBCS interns:
- Work at advocacy placements, including GBCS;
- Participate in Friday seminars (all-day Fridays for EYAs; half days for all others);
- Participate in weekly devotions;
- Are challenged with engaging readings, viewings and listening as part of their Friday seminars;
- Write regular reflections during their internship and a concluding essay about their internship experience;
- In addition, EYA interns travel to the United Nations to learn about the work of The United Methodist Church internationally, and on a local Methodist-heritage field trip.
In a typical internship week, interns spend approximately 75% of the time working at their placements, 20% in seminars, and 5% in devotions/fellowship activities.
- Passion and potential to engage in broad-based social-justice ministries;
- High commitment to The United Methodist Church’s engagement in public policy;
- Demonstrated leadership and potential for leadership within The United Methodist Church and society;
- Academic achievement and a readiness to apply university study to the internship;
- Highly self-motivated;
- Able to function effectively in a professional atmosphere;
- Exercise good decision-making skills;
- Feel comfortable working in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic urban environment; and
- Willing to participate in group activities.
There is zero tolerance for abuse of alcohol, drugs or other substances. Violations of this will result in immediate expulsion from the program.
The GBCS Internship Program expects participants to return to their schools, churches and communities with an increased commitment to working with and on behalf of marginalized groups in society. Participants are also expected to share their experience with other persons from their community, school, and/or church.
In addition to GBCS, past and current placements of interns have been at:
- National Council of Churches
- Faith & Politics Institute
- Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA)
- Creation Justice Ministries
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
- Jubilee USA
- Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
- RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund
- Syrian Emergency Task Force
- Feeding America
- Friends of the Congo
- National Religious Campaign Against Torture
- Men Can Stop Rape
- Institute for Policy Studies
- Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC)
There is one application process for all GBCS internships. The application allows the selection of multiple internship sessions.
We recommend that applicants complete the application offline and then fill in the application online. (Our system does not allow you to save incomplete applications or to come back to incomplete applications.)
A complete application packet includes the following items:
- Completed application form;
- Resume or CV;
- Three (3) page professional/academic writing sample (This may be text previously written for an assignment);
- Copy of university/college transcript (An official transcript is not necessary);
- Three (3) recommendations.
As a general rule, due to our review process, application packets must be in digital format. Because some geographical locations do not have viable Internet access, however, GBCS will accept completed hard-copy application packets if received before the relevant deadline. (Contact the program at email@example.com to notify us that you intend to submit a hard-copy application packet.)
- Internship Application Form (download and fill out offline, .doc format)
Note that applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Therefore, we may offer positions before the submission deadline. As such, applicants are encouraged to apply well before the deadline.
How will I benefit from the GBCS Internship Program?
Let us count the ways: great professional learning experience that looks great on your resume; dive into Washington, D.C.’s community of learning, engagement, social life and Methodist communities through a supportive and mentoring community; and have supported time to reflect on your experience as part of your Christian walk. A GBCS internship is more than a job and more than an internship.
Is a GBCS intern paid?
Some are and some are not. GBCS has limited funding for intern stipends. Who receives a stipend is determined by GBCS based on the financial need of the applicant, the personnel needs of the placement, and the leadership development goals of the GBCS Internship Program.
Applicants are encouraged to contact educational institutions and other non-profit organizations to apply for assistance as needed. Receipt of any outside income, funding or housing assistance received as a GBCS intern must be reported to the GBCS Internship Program Director.
Is housing provided?
For some interns, but not all. GBCS has a limited amount of housing. Who is housed is determined by GBCS and based on when the intern is accepted into the program. As possible, GBCS will assist interns not housed in GBCS housing in finding suitable housing.
Is health coverage provided?
No. All interns are required to provide their own health-care coverage and accident insurance.
Can I receive academic credit?
GBCS is cited by many colleges, universities and seminaries as an organization and internship program in which students can have meaningful educational experiences. Past interns have received academic credit from such institutions as Duke University, Randolph-Macon College, Drew University and Wesley Theological Seminary, among others. It is the sole responsibility of the intern to work with her or his academic institution if she or he seeks credit for a GBCS internship. The GBCS Internship Program Director will work with the intern and the academic intuition’s faculty to facilitate what is needed to secure academic credit for the intern.
Is the GBCS Internship Program a full-time internship?
Yes. Applicants should expect to work Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., or as determined by supervisor, and attend work or educational activities Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Interns also receive holidays as defined by their placement’s personnel policies. Sick leave beyond one day per month is determined by the placement supervisor and GBCS Internship Program Director.
As a GBCS intern, where will I work?
GBCS interns work either within the GBCS offices, or other offices that are part of the United Methodist connection, or with organization within whom GBCS partners locally, nationally or internationally. Currently, all placements are in Washington, D.C. (link to placement page)
What are the Standards of Conduct for a GBCS Intern?
Regardless of placement site within GBCS or at an organization with which GBCS partners, all GBCS interns are to uphold the Code of Ethics for interns of the General Agencies of The United Methodist Church. This code can be read here. (link) All interns are required to sign a covenant of responsibility and liability form.
Under what conditions could I leave the program before its stated end?
In the case that a GBCS intern must depart early, or the internship is terminated, such departure will be marked with dignity and respect for all involved. In consultation with the GBCS Internship Program Director, Assistant General Secretary for Education & Leadership Formation, Assistant General Secretary for Administration & Human Resources and the intern’s supervisor, early departure and the termination of the intern’s service may be for these or other reasons:
- Severe illness of the intern;
- Severe illness or death of an immediate family member;
- Non-compliance of the intern to the expectations of the program and/or illegal behavior;
- Inability to find a work placement for an intern whose original placement is not suitable; and
- Conditions in Washington, D.C., or in the program that impose immediate security risk.
My school is on the quarter system. Can I still participate?
Yes. You are welcome to apply, as long as you can commit to the full term of the internship program.
Will I be penalized if my recommendation arrives late?
Once a deadline has passed, all received information is collated and the review process begins. If recommendations or other materials arrive after a deadline it may be added to the application packet as staff time allows. In all cases incomplete application packets will be given a lower priority in the reviewing process.
Who should write a letter of recommendation on my behalf?
We encourage you to find individuals who can illustrate your qualifications, character and commitment to Christian advocacy.
To whom should the letters of recommendation be addressed?
"To Whom It May Concern."
Can I mail a hard copy of my application?
Due to our review process, all application packets must be in digital format. The only exception involves some geographical locations that do not have viable Internet access. In those circumstances, GBCS will accept completed hard-copy application packets if received before the relevant deadline. Contact the program to request to submit a hard copy application packet.
Eligibility and Criteria
Do you have to be a U.S. citizen to apply?
No. If an applicant is accepted into the GBCS Internship Program, the applicant is responsible for securing a visa for entry into the United States.
Do you have to be in college to apply?
No. While most interns are undergrad or graduate students, including seminary, the program is also open to people within one to three years of their graduation date:
- Currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at a college, community college, or university (two-to-four year institution);
- Graduated from an undergraduate or graduate degree program at a college, community college, or university (two-to-four year institution) no more than three years before the first day of the internship;
- A veteran of the United States Armed Forces who possesses a high-school diploma or its equivalent and has served on active duty for any length of time in the two years preceding the first day of the internship.
Is theological preference a deciding factor in the application review process?
No. It is essential, however, that applicants are dedicated to the mission and mandate of GBCS. Click here to read the mission of GBCS as determined by The General Conference of The United Methodist Church. Only the Ethnic Young Adult Internship Program is restricted to members of The United Methodist Church (UMC).
The GBCS Internship Program is a program of the Education & Leadership Formation section of GBCS.
For more information about the program, to become a placement site or other inquiries, contact:
The Rev. Neal Christie
Assistant General Secretary for Education & Leadership Formation
firstname.lastname@example.org / (202) 488-5611