The ECC Pastoral Residency is an eighteen-month training program for men discerning a call to gospel ministry. The goal of this residency is to equip pastors for the local church by training them in the context of the local church, providing an opportunity for focused teaching, mentoring, growth in godliness, and gospel-driven service.
Why A Pastoral Residency?
While seminaries can provide an extensive and much-needed theological education for aspiring ministers, they do not “make” pastors; churches do. Raising up faithful leaders to shepherd God’s people is an essential, yet often-neglected, part of the church’s commission. We see this clearly in Paul’s instruction to Timothy, who was the pastor of the church at Ephesus: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).
From the testimony of Scripture and the witness of church history, it has become our conviction that it is the responsibility of the local church to identify men who are called, evaluate their call, assess their character, and train them for the work of the Christian ministry.
About the Pastoral Residency
The Residency is an 18-month program to mentor and equip men for service in the local church. This training is not to be understood as simply learning a new skill. In the biblical sense of the word, training is the imparting of sound doctrine for the purpose of godliness through personal relationship, prayer, teaching, modelling, and practical instruction. Such pastoral training in the local church is meant to complement, rather than replace or reproduce, the theological training one would receive in seminary.
Additionally, Residents are required to be covenant members of ECC, or in the process of membership. The reason for this is that the biblical qualifications and character of an elder (pastor) are best assessed and cultivated within the life of a local church. In this way, residents will not only become more acquainted with a congregation they may be called to shepherd one day, but they will also come to be known by the congregation in such a way that their strengths can be identified, their weaknesses exposed, and their call to ministry evaluated.
However, not everyone who completes the residency will become a pastor of ECC (nor will everyone discover they have been called to pastoral ministry). For those who have successfully completed the program, who have had their call to the Christian ministry confirmed both inwardly and by the leadership and congregation of ECC, and who express a desire to serve this local church, an additional period of testing would follow before being put forward as a pastoral candidate at a members meeting.
At the conclusion of the ECC Pastoral Residency, by God’s grace, residents will have grown in:
- Their love for Jesus and his church.
- Their understanding of God’s word, especially concerning the church and pastoral ministry.
- Their fluency in the gospel and reliance upon the Holy Spirit.
- Their character as a man of God and competency as a biblical shepherd.
Over the course of eighteen months, residents will study systematic, biblical, and pastoral theology by completing several assigned readings, participating in book discussions, and writing a variety of papers. In addition to monthly training meetings, residents will also receive meaningful experience via mentorship and hands-on participation in various aspects of pastoral ministry. This may include teaching, preaching, visitation, care and counseling, evangelism, and opportunities to shadow pastors.
Please pray for our church, our leadership, this pastoral residency and especially our residents. Pray that these men walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work, and increase in their knowledge of God (Col 1:9-14).