RESIDENCIES: Growing a New Generation of Ministers
- Church planting & multiplication
- Church strengthening
- Discipleship & spiritual formation
If the Heartland has collectively mastered one skill, it is that we know how to grow stuff. From North Dakota to Oklahoma, we grow corn, beans, hay, wheat, cotton, livestock, energy reserves, families, small businesses, and grit. From ages past, God has granted Heartland inhabitants the capacity and strength to unlock the secrets of the Great Plains and to steward them in a way that provides good things for our communities and the world. This Heartland heritage is one reason why we are well-wired to grow a new generation of gospel-centered ministers. Because it takes time, investment, and intentionality to develop new ministers, we have launched the Converge Heartland Residency Program.
Why Local Church Residencies?
Not long ago, the Heartland region was known as a sending force for missionaries and local church ministers. Perhaps you can remember a time when serving in the clergy was viewed as socially honorable and something most parents desired for their children? Perhaps you can remember when the church culture of our nation and churches supported and sustained strong Bible colleges that were primarily committed to preparing gospel-centered ministers? Times have changed, theologically compatible ministry training schools are fewer, and these ministry training responsibilities are returning home to where they began and belong, namely to our local churches. Emerging pastors, missionaries, church planters, and associate ministers need well-cultivated local church "soil" in which to grow their developing abilities and competencies through hands-on ministry training.
How Do Residencies Work?
Residencies are two to three-year committments from local churches to provide a hands-on training ground for developing new ministers. These emerging ministries will have a sincere calling to gospel ministry as well as a degree from a college or trade school. In short, a church will make a committment to host a resident and the resident will commit to serve in a church while they complete their seminary education.
How Are Residencies Administered and Paid For?
While some churches can afford to hire a full-time ministry resident, many cannot. This is where Converge Heartland provides a viable pathway for both residents and churches. Though host churches are expected to provide some degree of fiancial support, Converge Heartland will recruit, hire, and equip residents for raising their own "missionary" support. This means that Converge Heartland handles all of the employment documentation, benefits, receipting, reporting, and administrative support. The host church will send its monthly support for their resident to Convege Heartland District office. We will also work with the church to develop a customized plan that best utilizes and equips the resident in tandem with a seminary degree program. Once the resident is fully supported, they will be contractually commissioned to serve under the authority of the host church throughout the residency. As the residency advances, Converge Heartland will also work with the resident and the host church towards ordination and to explore the resident's next ministry steps. Throughout the process, Converge Heartland provides many valuable services to both the resident and the church.
How To Start The Conversation
This is an exciting time as we have already begun to place ministry residents in Heartland churches. To help facilitate the conversation, we have created some brief online forms that help us understand your area of interest, capacity, and timeline. Simply fill out one the two following forms and we will be in contact with you.
Jim Capaldo, Regional President
Jim Capaldo is Converge Heartland Regional President.Additional articles by Jim Capaldo