FAQ: How to Start a Residency

By Clint Clifton

What is a residency?

A residency is a plan for turning members into missional leaders. Pastors are given a clear job description in Ephesians 4:11-13: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (ESV, emphasis added).

Why should every pastor start a residency?

Every pastor should start a residency and work in a focused way to develop members into missional leaders. You will discover incredible joy as you share your unique gifts with developing missional leaders, leading to ministry multiplication and increased leadership effectiveness.

Where do I find residents?

The obvious answer is that you already have them; they’re called church members! Remember that residency is an intentional plan for turning members into missional leaders.

What type of residency should I start?

Churches that most consistently produce fruitful missional leaders through residency have one of three emphases: church planting, pastoral ministry or missional leadership.

What are the components of a residency?

Ministry residencies have three components: hands, heart and head. “Hands” refers to the experiences a growing leader needs, “heart” addresses the spiritual life and character of the aspiring leader and “head” refers to the things the leader must know to be successful.

What is the residency process?

Spend one year helping one leader get ready for ministry leadership. A year is long enough to make a critical impact and short enough to be able to see the end in sight, if things are not going well.

How much time will a residency take from my schedule?

If you are going to do a good job developing missional leaders for the church, it will require a measure of your time. There is no way to get around it. The single most important factor in the success of any residency is the simple discipline of meeting together weekly. Put it on the schedule and keep it as a priority.

Should residents receive compensation?

Compensation is easily added but painfully removed. There is no harm in delaying compensation for residents. It is often wise to wait until you are confident they have cultivated a heart of gratitude.

What should weekly residency meetings look like?

Weekly residency meetings should last two hours, starting and ending on time. Each meeting should include prayer, review of previous assignments, instruction, discussion, case studies and an overview of the next assignments.

For more, download a free copy of the How to Start a Residency ebook by Clint Clifton.

Published March 27, 2023

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Clint Clifton

Clint Clifton is the founding pastor of Pillar, a multiplying church in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and the senior director of resource and research strategy at the North American Mission Board. He is the author of several books and periodicals on the subject of church planting, including Church Planting Thresholds: A Gospel Centered Church Planting Guide and Church Planting Primer and is the host of the Church Planting podcast.