Pastoral Residency Program

January 22, 2016  |  Sean Mortenson

When Redemption Church was formed in 2011, our desire was not only to create healthy, Jesus-loving congregations, but also to identify, equip, and prepare the next wave of leaders to effectively serve Christ and his church. In too many cases, churches delegate or sub-contract the role of developing leaders to seminaries or other organizations. In some cases, churches abdicate this responsibility altogether. One of the hallmarks of Redemption Church, however, has been an extraordinary commitment to invest in next-generation leaders.

The Redemption Church Pastoral Residency Program is born out of this commitment. Over the years, numerous leaders have been informally trained and deployed out of the congregations that form Redemption Church. The Pastoral Residency Program represents the next step in formalizing our commitment to leadership development.

We borrowed the terms “Residency Program” and “Resident” from the medical community. Medical Residents are often already on a trajectory toward becoming health care providers, but spend their Residency shadowing doctors and practicing medicine in an environment of continual feedback, mentoring, and learning. Similarly, Redemption’s Pastoral Residency Program creates an environment for potential pastors to shadow existing leaders, practice ministry, and do it all in a safe and secure environment for growth.

Though there is much intentionality in the teaching and training we invest in our Residents, in the end, the Pastoral Residency Program is much more of an art than a science, more of a “Hebrew” mentoring than “Greek” rows and classrooms. It is a lot of observations, experiences, mentorship, honest feedback, and time to mature and learn. If the church were a restaurant, the Pastoral Residency Program puts you in the kitchen and eventually hands you some ingredients and utensils.

A major objective of the Pastoral Residency Program is to help Residents know who they are and get comfortable in their own skin. Sober-minded self-awareness is a high priority. We want to help Residents explore and identify their strengths and weaknesses so that they can lead in the freedom and joy of gospel-rooted security.

Residents come from a variety of backgrounds and with an assortment of aspirations. Some residents have extensive ministry experience while others do not. Some have even served as pastors or planted churches, while many are just beginning to explore how God is calling them to serve. As a result, certain aspects of the Pastoral Residency Program are tailored specifically to each man’s needs, while many of the experiences are common for all Residents.

Ultimately, our dream is that the fruit of our efforts will produce great, Godly, gospel-centered men who blast into their next season of life as servant leaders. We dream that many of them plant churches, add value to established churches, re-plant churches, lead in churches and, one day, entrust to younger men what by God’s grace we were able to invest in them. We want them carrying GospelDNA into every domain of life and to every corner of God’s world.

If you are reading this as a potential Resident with a dream to lead in churches or plant churches, please read through the following FAQ’s, as well as the rest of our website, to get a feel for our church. Our Pastoral Residency Program is embedded into our church so you would need to appreciate our church to fit as a candidate.


Residency Program FAQ’s

By completing the Redemption Church Pastoral Residency Program can I expect to have a vocational pastoral position at Redemption Church or to be planted as a Redemption congregation?

No. You cannot expect that. Though it sometimes happens, you should expect the Pastoral Residency Program to prepare you for ministry outside of Redemption. If you are hoping to plant a church, this means that you should expect to plant an autonomous church rather than a Redemption congregation. If you are hoping to serve in vocational pastoral ministry, you should expect to serve at a church other than Redemption.

What is your best-fit candidate for the Redemption Church Pastoral Residency Program?

We believe that there is no one-size-fits-all mold when it comes to doing pastoral ministry or church leadership. Everyone has different gifts and abilities, and what we strive to do through the Pastoral Residency Program is to bring out and strengthen those gifts in young, humble and courageous leaders for the glory of God and the good of the Jesus’ church. Therefore, our Residents must demonstrate a committed, growing relationship with Christ, and a track record of responsibility and service to the church. We also want to see humility and an intense curiosity when it comes to learning, a strong desire to be a servant-leader for God’s fame, name and glory and alignment with the doctrine, philosophies and passions of Redemption Church.

We will craft a different experience for an experienced leader ready to plant a church in the foreseeable future from the program than we will craft for an emerging leader not certain how they are wired, where they would fit on a team or what role they would play.

Finally, please know, we are looking to teach and shape the teachable and moldable. Arrogance, know-it-alls, entitlement mentalities, prima donnas or divas will make for a miserable experience for you and for us. If you already have everything figured out, then go plant a church or get a job in church leadership.

What can I expect to take away from my experience as a resident?

Our Pastoral Residents should expect to gain a wealth of real-world knowledge as a pastor, leader and person. Our program is intended to leave you feeling equipped and ready for your next venture in life. Specifically, you can expect growth in theological clarity, disciple-making abilities, leadership skills and relationship building. You will take away incredible experiences and relationships with trusted elders and leaders who can speak into your life and affirm you as a leader for your transition into professional life after your years with us.

Do I need to live in Phoenix full-time to be a Resident?

Not necessarily, but this is preferred. Our program is meant to be a comprehensive learning experience where we aim to provide the highest quality teaching and guidance possible in every facet of life. We want our residents to leave the program feeling equipped and confident in their ability to not just pastor a church but to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ daily. Therefore, while a Resident does not necessarily need to live in Phoenix, he will need to regularly be in Phoenix and participate in the life of Redemption Church

What is the structure of the Pastoral Residency Program?

The Pastoral Residency Program has the following components:

  1. Personal Assignments. In addition to pursuing a vibrant relationship with God, each Resident will be expected to study, read, and complete a variety of assignments. Leaders are learners and Residents will be challenged to learn constantly. Many of the assignments are hands-on and relational, though Residents should prepare to read and study a significant amount of content during the program.
  2. Congregational Participation. Our program requires a great deal of applied learning. This means each Resident will participate in a significant way in the life of one of the Redemption congregations. Residents will participate in congregational activities and ministries, spend time with the congregation’s leaders, attend staff meetings, and have opportunities to lead and try new things
  3. Mentoring/Coaching. Constant feedback is crucial for leaders to develop in a healthy way. Residents should expect to get lots of feedback from the pastoral staff of Redemption Church. Teachability, humility, and thick skin are necessary. If we see a weakness that may harm your soul, your family, or your ministry in the future, we will address it.
  4. Intensives & Retreats. Residents will gather all together at least monthly for an intensive learning experience. We will also gather occasionally for retreats or other out-of-town experiences. These moments will be formative for working through important issues and spending time with the leadership of Redemption Church.