About CEM :
Christian Encounter Ministries (CEM), established in 1970, is a 24-hour, residential discipleship and counseling ministry for broken and hurting young people (currently accepting males age 16-21 and females age 16-25) who are dealing with many issues such as grief, anger, depression, abandonment, and abuse. These young people, called students, come to CEM voluntarily.
Students stay 18 months on average and receive Christian discipleship, professional counseling, and schooling if necessary (there is a state approved private high school on property)—not to mention other essentials: fellowship, love, and plenty of one-on-one attention. They adhere to a disciplined schedule and learn how to develop a good work ethic. As much as possible, we relate to them as a loving and supportive “extended family.”
CEM offers internships for committed Christians age 21 and older who love the Lord and are eager to serve others. Ministering to these hurting young people is both demanding and rewarding. Students experience rapid growth, and interns develop additional spiritual maturity and endurance. As servant-leaders, interns model the Christian life as they live and work alongside the students. A staff of committed Christian professionals who have had many years of residential ministry experience provide guidance for the intern team. New interns receive one week of orientation, verbal and written instruction, and helpful direction and advice from senior interns. Internships range from 90 days to 2 years.
Each intern disciples one to three students and teaches group Bible studies on a rotation basis. Interns are hard-working supervisors of the students and perform daily assignments that include practical activities--cooking, cleaning, and various maintenance tasks on our 86-acre campus (affectionately called “the Ranch”). Interns also oversee a dorm room with two or three students. Many teachable moments arise during the daily activities as well as during recreation times (e.g. boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, ball games, “hanging out,” etc.). There are also various opportunities to minister in other ways according to interest and gifting.
Depending on length of stay, interns may accompany the students on a wilderness trip (under staff guidance) in the high country of the Sierras: a two-week late summer backpack trip which includes rock climbing and rappelling, and/or a 4-day winter snow trip. These experiences foster teamwork and character development, and nearly everyone who goes on a trip returns having heard from the Lord in a deep way.
Some of the support for interns:
There are usually 6 to 8 interns at a time, and they form a team that supports each other, shares advice and knowledge, and prays for each other. Interns receive professional counseling weekly during their first 90 days, and longer if desired. They learn ways to help students, and the counseling also benefits them on a personal level.
Interns have one 14-hour day off, a 4-hour office time, two 4-hour personal breaks, and a planned 4-hour evening off with the intern team each week. They also have a weekly meeting with the staff, where questions and concerns can be discussed. Interns always have immediate access to staff members and other interns in any crisis. Each intern is assigned a spiritual mentor who meets with him/her weekly.
Internships are also available for college students (juniors, seniors, or graduates) especially with interests in counseling, social work, youth ministries, Christian education, or rehabilitation programs. Academic credits vary with each college or university. However, because interning is a “hands-on” experience, time for academic assignments must be limited so interns will not have to abandon their ministry duties.
During an internship, CEM provides room and board. All CEM interns are eligible for a graduated grant (from a total of $500 for the first 3 months, up to $600 per month, depending on length of service) to help cover other expenses.
A glimpse of the reward:
Interns see the results of their ministry as they build relationships and observe residents healing from deep emotional and spiritual wounds. Even though not every resident makes the progress we hope for, many experience amazing and lasting transformations. Former interns have gone on to serve as missionaries, teachers, counselors, social workers, youth ministers and pastors. They have found their internships invaluable because of the personal spiritual growth and maturity that happened, and also because of the ministry training and experience they received at CEM.
If you are interested and would like more info, call (530) 268-0877 and ask for Mark, or click on “Request Info” and submit the short form. Residential internships may begin nearly any day of the year, depending on openings at the time.
Mark Andrews, M. Div.
Minister of Discipleship/Interns