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Pastoral Residency possibilities

NB: Sites that wish to apply for a resident should contact the Director of Contextual Education in the fall preceding the year in which they would like the pastoral residency to begin.

What is the Pastoral Residency (pastoral residency) Program?

The ELCIC considers pastoral residency a prerequisite for ordination to pastoral ministry and consecration to diaconal ministry. It is also a required part of the MDiv and BTh degrees offered by LTS. Residents serve in a congregation and/or agency of this church or a partner church in the LWF, and increasingly in shared interdenominational ministries. The resident is supervised by an on-site supervisor, a Lay pastoral residency Committee and the seminary, under the oversight of the seminary’s Director of Contextual Education.

The program provides for extended and thorough involvement in the regular ministry of a congregation or agency over an extended period of full-time or half-time service. It enables the student to develop the attitudes and skills needed for professional ministry. Except for solemnizing marriages and administering the sacraments, the resident becomes involved in all aspects of leadership in the pastoral residency site.

Why Host a Resident?

Congregations decide to have residents for a number of good reasons:

1. Because developing strong evangelical leadership may be the single most important element in God’s shaping of our church for the future. pastoral residency sites have a significant opportunity to influence the spirit, commitments, community outreach and theological directions of our church when they train one of its pastors or diaconal ministers. They may even be training one of their own future leaders.

2. Because the supervision of a resident is a growth experience for your pastor or diaconal minister. Professional ministry can be a lonely calling sometimes. Having a resident gives the supervisor a chance to share their ministry with a trainee/colleague in a close, vital way. It helps him or her to re-evaluate approaches and priorities, to sharpen their own skills and develop abilities in team ministry.
Many under-staffed congregations or agencies which anticipate that they may someday expand their staff begin with a resident. They find that the intern is a low-risk way to begin sorting through issues of leadership style, division of labor, team relationships, etc. Being a supervisor also helps to sharpen the supervisor's theological skills as he or she reflects on the meaning of ministry in the light of the Bible and our Lutheran tradition.

3. Because it energizes a congregation or agency’s life. This happens in two ways. First of all, residents are in a learning mode. So they bring a spirit of experimentation and creativity to the places they serve. They come fresh from seminary with new ideas (some workable and some not but all worth hearing!). They also come with some specialized tools for community outreach and congregational visioning.
Congregations or agencies may desire to undertake an expansion of their ministry in a particular area. The additional leadership a resident provides may help to get it off the ground. In addition, in order to help the resident learn the congregation or agency’s culture, history and values it will have to articulate these to the resident. This helps the resident to preach and minister in a context-specific way. But it is also an important experience of self-discovery for the lay committee particularly and the site as a whole. It helps the site to become more aware of itself--of its strengths, obstacles to growth, its fears and hopes.

4. Because our church's leaders don’t grow on trees. The pastors and diaconal ministers now serving so ably were given loving, effective training in ordinary congregations and agencies across our church. They gave sacrificially of time and money to ensure that the church would continue to have pastors who gather its people around Word and Sacrament and diaconal ministers who lead them out into the world to serve.

5. Because, although the costs for an resident (in terms of money and supervisory time) are significant, residents are a great “deal.” These residents are not green. All of them have significant experience through their own involvement in pre-seminary parish leadership, in practical, hands-on training at seminary and through supervised “contextual education” in Saskatoon area parishes. They help to extend the site's ministry in very significant ways. Depending on the student they may provide over the year as much as half to two-thirds of the work equivalent of a fully-trained professional minister.

What Standards Must a Residency Site Meet?

Since pastoral modeling and direct observation of the student’s work are essential to pastoral residency learning, residents will not be placed in congregations or agencies that do not have a reasonable amount of on-site supervision. Should a vacancy occur during the pastoral residency, if at least half of the pastoral residency has taken place, then the interim pastor may serve as supervisor for the duration of the agreement if the seminary, CTEL and congregation or agency agree.

If half of the pastoral residency has not been completed, the seminary will make a decision in consultation with the bishop, CTEL, student and site. The site must be committed to contributing to the education needs of the student rather than just meeting the program or labor needs of the site. The site must provide exposure to all areas of ministry (e.g. worship, learning, witness, service and support) allowing for a more intense concentration in two or three areas of ministry.

The areas of ministry focus are negotiated with the student to meet both the students’ learning needs and the needs of the site. The site must be willing to support the supervisor’s participation in pastoral residency programming (i.e. in clusters, mid-winter retreat, weekly supervisory sessions, evaluations, on-site visit, etc.). The site must provide and train a lay pastoral residency committee to work with the student in the context.

Who Should a Prospective Site Contact for More Information?

Congregations wishing to know more about setting up an pastoral residency (including costs involved) are encouraged to contact the President.