What makes for a healthy transition from seminary to full-blown pastoral ministry? New church responsibilities in a first-call setting can be daunting. A new pastor is often isolated from professional peers and limited by the leadership training of seminary.
The St. Paul Pastoral Residency Program is designed to strengthen the transition from seminary to congregational ministry. Participants grow a foundation of healthy pastoral practices and habits – crucial to success and longevity in ministry.
Gifted new pastors, pursuing their first call, are invited to apply for this unparalleled opportunity. In two fulfilling years at St. Paul,the resident pastors cultivate and grow leadership for a lifetime of service in the Lutheran Church. A nationally-recognized teaching congregation with an innovative staff surrounds and supports their work. A full-time salary with benefits is paid.
Resident pastors encounter all the important facets of congregational life during these two special years. They’re fully integrated into the pastoral team — preaching, teaching, leading communion, baptizing, marrying, conducting funeral services, and much more. In moments of sorrow and celebration, in weekly worship, and in daily life, they walk the road of faith together as pastors and people.
The program design
The structure of the Pastoral Residency Program promotes personal growth, building on each pastor’s interests and skills. Study, reflection, and ministry experiences are central to the program’s strength.
The bi-weekly Core Seminar helps shape healthy pastoral practices through study and reflection. Pastor Peter Marty guides the cohort. A seasoned mentor, he focuses on the art of pastoral leadership, the pastoral heart, congregational culture, and church administration. Peter’s insights and feedback integrate sound theology and knowledge of the Christian faith with practical realities of daily ministry.
Academically, resident pastors get to read and consider significant books, articles, and topics. Discussion helps shape teaching, preaching, church leadership, and caring for souls. The experience models the importance of lifelong learning throughout ministry.
Daily ministry integrates resident pastors into all aspects of St. Paul pastoral work. They encounter important facets of congregational life: worship planning and leadership, evangelism, communication, adult discipleship, mission, ministries with children and youth, pastoral care, and counseling.
Special attention is given to collegiality, continuing education opportunities, and special projects in areas of interest identified by each resident pastor.
A small residency team of parishioners walks alongside the pastors through the entire two-year ministry at St. Paul. These companions offer friendship, congregational insight, critical feedback, and support.
Funded by an innovative grant
The Lilly Endowment Inc. of Indianapolis invited St. Paul to apply for its innovative Transition into Ministry grant program. Salaries, benefits, and other program costs are funded through this grant, in addition to money raised by the congregation.
St. Paul is privileged to be the only Lutheran church in the country currently hosting a Pastoral Residency Program. The church’s first residency group served 2006-2008. Pastors Kelsey Fitting-Snyder and Joshua Kestner arrived in August 2017 and will serve through summer 2019. Applications for the next cohort, to begin in August 2021, will be accepted beginning in Fall 2020, with an application deadline of December 31, 2020.
Download: Residency program brochure
Pastoral residency: Beth Laureijs