God in His kindness has provided two pastoral residents to Grace Life! There is time, resources, and money given to this endeavor. So, why should Grace Life have a pastoral residency program? Maybe a better question is, why should we continue to put more time and effort into our pastoral residents?
We believe it is the church’s responsibility to train up the next generation of pastors. Bible college and seminaries are helpful, even necessary. Yet God did not commit the training of pastors to seminaries & Bible colleges. So they work hand in hand with the local church. The natural progression is: 1) a man is born-again through the gospel ministry of a local church; 2) this brother grows spiritually and his gifts make room for him; 3) there is an internal call by the Holy Spirit, an external affirmation by the church, a time of preparation. This is a time investment, financial investment, and a relational investment by the local church.
We believe it is the church’s responsibility to fulfill the great commission. Our understanding of the church pushes us toward pastoral residency. If your understanding of a church is that is a meeting point to hear instruction from the Bible then there is no need for residency. But the church has been commissioned to take the gospel into the world. The effect of the gospel is to hew, out of nothingness, people who gather together in the name of Christ for the promotion and propagation of the gospel. When they commit in covenantal membership that is the church, and thus that new church needs undershepherds and/or elders.
When we say, we believe it is the church’s responsibility to train the next generation of pastors, we REALLY believe it’s the church’s responsibility, not just a pastor or elders’ responsibility. Here are three ways that you help train the next generation of pastors:
- Be committed to growing as a Christian individually. Refuse and reject the idea that someone will always feed you. Commit to learning how to feed yourself spiritually.
- Be committed to growing as a Christian corporately. Be committed as a member of Grace Life: arriving early, staying late, serving faithfully, volunteering joyfully, and participating in a Life Group.
- Be committed to discipling others and others’ discipling you. Include pastoral residents in your life and your family’s life. Run from isolation personally and run toward spiritual accountability.
May God, in His great kindness, continue to allow us the great privilege of helping form and shape the next generation of undershepherds!