I have served as the architect and leader of our residency program at 12Stone Church for the last 12 years. When I started, there were not many other churches doing anything similar, but now residencies are becoming more common. To clarify, I mean church-based programs that help the next generation of young pastors develop leadership skills through on the job experience, coaching and leadership training. The purpose of this post is to encourage more church leaders to consider starting residencies.
1. A residency program will make your staff better leaders.
Residents make honest mistakes, ask hard questions, require insightful feedback and possess complicated developmental issues. It is not easy to have a resident if you are truly committed to their development. Facilitating a resident’s growth has the added benefit of growing the staff. They will think more clearly about ministry, become more accurate in assessing situations/people and will be more focused on creating systems that deliver results.
2. A residency program will make make your staff think younger.
Experienced leaders can easily get stuck in a rut — having young leaders around mixes things up. Young leaders tend to be more willing to take risks, are more familiar with new technology and more aware of the latest trends. When these qualities combine with the wisdom of older staff, the benefits can be exponential.
3. A residency program will help your people think bigger.
When the people of your church see young pastors being intentionally trained, it helps expand their vision. They begin to see how God can use your church to have an impact in other places. Additionally, when young people see residents leading, it often opens their hearts to a ministry calling of their own.
4. A residency program will multiply your church’s impact.
Since 12Stone started our residency, we have seen over 100 residents become pastors. These former residents are making a difference in churches across the country and across the world. These young leaders are bringing their experiences from our church into their ministries, and seeing God change thousands of lives.
5. A residency program will be your best recruiting ground.
While this is not the central purpose of the residency, 12Stone has hired many of our residents. This is healthy! We believe our program is producing pastors who can win in our context.