College Park Church’s Pastoral Residency is a two-year program aimed to prepare recent seminary graduates for pastoral ministry. We start with men who exhibit the bedrock qualifications of a pastor: a deepening relationship with Jesus, a heart to shepherd God’s people, and character in line with passages like 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. From there, we want to see our residents grow in the abilities and experience needed to take on pastoral leadership within the church.
The word “residency” is confusing to many; the number of pastoral residency programs nationwide is still small, and different residencies take different approaches. When we say “resident,” many hear “intern,” which sounds like a day of making copies and sitting quietly in the corners of meetings. But that’s not how our residency works. Here’s how we develop our pastoral residents:
Residents learn by doing.
From the outset, residents are given responsibilities within College Park Church. They counsel; they teach; they own ministries, all from month one. Under the guidance of their pastor, residents are put into ministry work and learn as they go. We entrust our residents with ministry work and develop them mainly through an experience-and-feedback model.
Residents lead within the church.
We believe that the best way to learn to be a leader is to actually lead. Residents are given leadership opportunities within College Park. They shepherd College Parkers in community groups. They lead lay volunteers in ministry. They organize projects within their pastoral context. We give our residents as much leadership experience as possible so that they’ll be as prepared as possible for leadership in their next ministry step.
Residents are both generalists and specialists.
Residents gain experience in general pastoral ministry: they preach regularly, counsel others, participate in elder meetings, and have other opportunities to grow in the competencies that pastoral leaders need. But residents also specialize in one area: they get major experience in one field of College Park’s ministry. This means residents will build a special relationship with one of College Park’s pastors and grow particularly in one form of pastoral ministry.
What do we look for in a resident?
The first things we look for in a resident are a growing relationship with God and a desire for pastoral ministry. Second, we’re looking for men who have completed masters-level theological training: not necessarily an M.Div, but something like it. Third, we’re looking for candidates who would feel at home at College Park.
To date, we’ve had Pastoral Residents with focuses in Community Life/Groups, Children’s Ministry, Local Outreach, and Biblical Counseling.
Contact Joe Bartemus, Pastor of Theological Development for more information.