When telling people about the Protege Program and my time here at NCC these first 3 months, many people seem to respond with some hint of disbelief. “But you’re not actually ‘on-staff’ though, right?” or “But you’re just an intern…”

Our discipleship pastor is hosting some missionaries from Ireland this week. They sat in on our meetings yesterday, and later blogged about their observations.

Here are a few things they noticed:

- Everyone had a opinion in the meetings
- Everyone was listened to and was taken seriously
- Interns (or the protégé program guys) were treated on a par with senior staff
- Interns heavily influenced and changed programmes and services from the top down
- The senior pastor was relaxed, approachable and had faith in his staff to deliver

I can’t say enough to express my gratitude for the opportunities I’ve been given in being a part of this program. The proteges truly are considered staff at NCC. I’m not naive enough to think every ministry staff is like this…and I’m willing to bet that Big Norm, based on the last sentence of that blog post, has been involved with ministries that aren’t always as open to opinions/input as NCC is.

The longer I’m here the more I admire the people on staff. There’s a saying that goes something like this: Everything rises and falls on leadership. NCC is lead by some of the most humble, god-fearing people I’ve ever met. You’d think that with a ministry that is routinely noted as one of the most innovative churches in America, it would only be normal to sense some arrogance or pride. Well, NCC isn’t a normal church, and the leaders here aren’t normal either. Their love for God and His people combined with a willingness to be broken and transparent makes the atmosphere unique. You won’t find any arrogance here. In fact, God’s been putting his finger on some pride that I need to let go of, and showing me example after example of the type of leader I need to be through observing the leadership here. I need to make sure I’m taking the lowest seat. (Luke 14:8)

We had an awesome staff meeting yesterday that led into a time of prayer and enjoying the presence of God. I hope that wherever I end up after August 2010, I find myself surrounded by people such as those here at NCC. This place is amazing.