Austin Almaguer gained practical experience during seminary as he explored varied ministries—from working at a school in India to serving in the chaplains’ program at a New Jersey prison.
Even so, when he learned about the pastoral residency program at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, he recognized the distinctive value he could gain working on staff in a teaching congregation. Conversations with veteran ministers reinforced his decision.
“Without exception, they told me, ‘If I could go back and get that kind of experience for two years before my first full-time pastorate, I would do it in a heartbeat,’” he said.
The pastoral residency program in a teaching church provides ministers an experience similar to what young physicians gain through a medical residency program in a teaching hospital.
Pastoral residency offers an extended transitional period for seminary graduates in a hands-on learning environment where they gain experience in preaching, teaching, worship planning, pastoral care and administration. They serve on a church staff and perform pastoral duties, but they work under the guidance of a mentor pastor and within the context of a supportive teaching congregation that encourages reflection and provides encouragement.
“Wisdom resides in pew and pulpit alike. Clergy and laity are important to this work of training leaders for the church from generation to generation,” George Mason, pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church, wrote in his book, Preparing the Pastors We Need: Reclaiming the Congregation’s Role in Training Clergy. …
This excerpt is from an article featured in the August issue of CommonCall magazine. Read more stories like this, plus commentary, news and other resources, by subscribing here.