Starting a Residency

Episode 632: Church-based residencies are a growing trend in ministerial and church planter training. Co-hosts Ed Stetzer and Dhati Lewis discuss the complexities and simplicities of such programs and offer some valuable insight on how churches both large and small can launch residency programs.

In This Episode, You’ll Discover:

  • How Blueprint Church was started to be a “blueprint” for other churches planting churches
  • The wide variety of training going on under the banner of “Residencies”
  • How residents learn the complexities of disciple making so members can be given the simplicity
  • The radical approach of training every biblically qualified person in your church, then allowing God to show them their calling

Sharable Quotes (#NewChurches):

You need to be aware of a growing trend where churches are adopting a strategy to raise up church planters from within – or sometimes they kind of become within, do a two-year residency and then go out and plant churches. @edstetzer

At Blueprint Church, we say every covenant member is either a covocational church planter or a covocational church planting team member. @dhatilewis

We started Blueprint Church with a desire that we were going to be a church that’s planting other churches. We wanted to be a blueprint so we knew that was going to to take place. @dhatilewis

We didn’t necessarily have a timeline, per se, but we started doing different things and had an internship that led to an apprenticeship, and from apprentice to a residency. It was a leadership pipeline. @dhatilewis

Oftentimes we focus in on the calling. But if you train everybody who’s biblically qualified in your church, then God is going to match up people’s call to the burden in the cry-outs of the city. @dhatilewis

We had people living in our home for you months at a time and we would teach them how to be leaders. And we said, “You guys are our next small group leaders.” We would cast that vision with an expectation similar to Jesus’ call, “Follow me and you will become fishers of men.” @dhatilewis 

We were beginning with the end in mind. It was discipleship with a very specific and targeted destination of where we’re going. We put it up on a higher bar. @dhatilewis

Once they became small group leaders, then they became ministry leaders, and then they became Titus to women and elders and then they become elders. In that call, we sent them out as teams to plant churches. @dhatilewis 

Let’s just train everybody and let God bring out the calling in their lives. We started having a discipleship leadership program every member and allowed God to discover how that’s going to flesh out in their lives. @dhatilewis

Disciple making is not a ministry of the church; it’s the ministry of the church and residency is just one outgrowth of the call to discipleship. 

While most large churches have gotten very much into residencies, you don’t have to be a really large church to engage this. @edstetzer

In residencies, there tends to be a curriculum and a series of expectations. We are seeing more churches taking on historically the role that might have been like an agency.  @edstetzer

You can plant churches and not make any disciples but, ultimately, if you make disciples you will plant churches. @dhatilewis 

This is not the Jetsons, where you can just press a button and then churches come out and disciples are made There’s a lot in this operating system. You got to own the complexity so the simplicity is given to your members. @dhatilewis

As a volunteer, part-time pastor, I limited myself to four things: preaching, meeting with leadership, leading a small group in my home and leading our pastoral apprentice team.  @edstetzer

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Published January 13, 2022

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