The Early Ministry Initiative exists to create a network of churches, thought leaders, and lead practitioners who will provide effective apprenticeship, internship and mentoring programs for new ministers in order to develop healthy, fit and effective ministers from the beginning of their ministry.
This Initiative helps healthy local churches and effective pastors provide entering ministers with the development, support, and training needed during the first five years of ministry. Whether a new graduate from college or a second career pastor, The Wesleyan Church wants the first five years of your ministry to develop a healthy, fit and effective Ministry. The first five years of ministry are critical for the future trajectory of a new minister’s life and thus Wesleyans get entering ministers to work for 1-2 years as a “Resident pastor” in a local church where an experienced minister offers mentoring and coaching and entering ministers get the practical ministry experience that better prepares them for a life of ministry. Our job in Education and Clergy Development is to network entering ministers with experienced pastors and local churches and offer resources to each so that The Wesleyan Church has a variety of models of Residency Programs in various kinds of local churches.
What is a residency?
A residency is a 1-2 year assignment in a local Wesleyan Church designed to give you mentoring and coaching after you finish college but before you launch completely into full time ministry. It is a chance to “learn the ropes” of practical ministry before taking the risk of full responsibility on your own.
Why should I do a residency?
A 1-2 year residency gives you a chance to get significant ministry experience in a healthy flourishing church yet it does not “throw you into the deep end” of full time responsibility without mentoring and coaching. It is an extension of your classroom education into a couple years as a staff position in a vital local church, yet with the protection and guidance of a mentor and coach. A “ministry residency” is similar to what medical doctors do when they serve a couple of years in a hospital to finish their training after classes but before going into their own practice. Leading churches is a complicated and complex work and the best place to learn some things is on the front lines—in the local church. A 1-2 year residency gives you a chance to launch into your own full time responsibility later with strong references from a flourishing church staff and pastor.
How is this different from an Internship, practicum or supervised ministry?
It’s longer, more intense, and requires more time than any of these. A practicum is usually a couple hours a week while you are in school. An internship is usually a full summer or semester while still in school. A Residency is a 1-2 year staff position in a church where you get mentoring and coaching from an experienced minister.
How much does a residency cost?
This part of your ministerial training won’t cost you—you actually might get paidsome. Many local church residencies supply free housing and even provide a stipend for your personal expenses. Some allow you to even get another part time job as you learn. And. if you have a Wesleyan loan-grant a residency will likely apply toward forgiveness of these too. The housing and stipend depends on the local church offering a residency, just like all jobs in The Wesleyan Church–there is not one uniform salary for either pastors or residents.
Where can I find open residency positions?
Open residency positions at listed at the regular Wesleyan jobs page. Residency positions are identified in the “Time” column. (The listing includes regular jobs –full time or part time—but also some will be listed as a “Residency” To see the jobs page click here.
What if there are no Residencies listed?
If you want to be reminded when a new residency gets listed (or sometimes churches offer them and don’t list them here) just send an email to the chair of the “Early Ministry Initiative” Keith Drury at email@example.com say “Remind me when a residency comes open.”
List of experiences a resident should have.
There are a variety of experiences that a residency should bring to the student. Many resident churches colaborated to provide a list of the potential experiences a student will have during residency.
This list enables the ability to keep an accurate record, grade, and thoughts on the experiences gained during a residency.
Download the Experience Record:
REAP Residency: Equipping Adults for Vocational Ministry
When we gathered a group of people together to write this guide a few churches were just starting to approach education and training of adult laity in a systematic way. It has been a growing approach as second-career adults sense the call to the ordained ministry. We see this as a growing approach in the future. So we called together a bright group of thinkers and writers to produce this guide for churches to prepare working adults to transition into vocational ministry while staying and serving in their local church. That’s what this is—a first draft of what is becoming a second track into ministry.
Below you will find the PDF version of the REAP Residency “Equipping Adults for Vocational Ministry” guide. This is an updated version and may mention any updates since the print edition.
The residency initiative provides a 1-2 year ministry experience for entering ministers after their education at teaching churches. As a Teaching Church you can have one or more “Resident Pastors” join your staff for 1-2 years to learn the ropes of ministry while being mentored and coached by an experienced pastor.
Why might I want to offer a Resident Minister position?
Wesleyan Colleges and Universities offer a great education and some practical training but there are simply some things you can’t learn about church work in a classroom. Local churches are stepping up to become a “finishing school” by offering the year round practical experience a new minister can only get in a local church. Offering a residency to one or more graduating seniors gives your church a chance to participate in the ministerial training of the next generation of pastors. A resident pastor might serve for 1-2 years at your church, learning from you, helping you with ministry with your church offering housing and a small stipend. You would get to influence for a lifetime an entering minister.
How would I post a Resident Pastor opening?
You can post openings on the regular Wesleyan jobs site—just click the new “Residency” box when you post (instead of full or part time). Click here to see where you can post a residency position.
Other FAQs for Churches
Can I recruit graduating seniors directly?
Sure, though we think you should post the opening too. But if you want to write directly to the seniors at our five Wesleyan Institutions you can get a list by sending an Email to Joel Liechty at the Education and Clergy Development office.
Does a residency count towards the two years of service required by the District for Ordination?
This ultimately is a question for your District Board of Ministerial Development. Since these are ministerial positions with significant responsibility, most districts will be favorable towards this completing the requirement. The two years of service is typically for full-time service. Since most residencies will only be part time, extra year(s) of service may be necessary.
Does a residency count toward a student’s Wesleyan Ministerial Loan-Grant cancellation?
Ultimately, Loan-Grant cancellation is based on full-time service in a Wesleyan Church or Wesleyan Institution as appointed by the district. Thus, churches should work to ensure their residents are under appointment in the district. Since most residencies will be part-time, it is possible for them to receive reduced cancellation for part-time service.
Some of our schools require a semester or year of service in a church for completion of a student’s degree (e.g. Kingswood’s semester, IWU’s Kern Masters, etc.). Can a student do both a residency and this year of service?
This is a ultimately is a decision between your church and the respective school. Some churches may consider doing a residency in which the first year of the program coincides with the last year of a student’s schooling with an additional year to the residency after graduation. Financial aid is typically dependent on full-time enrollment with a school. Collaboration, questions, and details should be worked out between the church, the school, and the student.
Do resident pastors have an advantage in the Wesleyan job market after they complete their residency?
Officially, no. Headquarters is not offering any incentive for churches to hire a graduate of a residency. However, residents will receive superb ministry experience during their residency and will most likely be more competitive for open positions in churches. Over time, churches will want to hire resident pastor graduates.
Who is the contact person at headquarters for my questions and comments?
Are there any resources for churches to help them design their own residency program?
Yes! Several churches already have residencies up and running and you can see what they are doing here: