What does this 2 year church planting residency look like?
No two apprenticeship experiences will be exactly the same because of the flexibility we offer to enable individuals and families to follow the specific path to which God is calling them. But the basic components will be there for everyone by necessity and we can share some of our common experiences that will give you an idea of what to expect.
First of all, if you want to get the feel for what it looks like to be on mission and be part of something much bigger than yourself, we invite you to move to Montreal and be part of Church 21! Si vous pouvez déjà parler français, nous vous invitons à déménager à Montréal, à Sherbrooke ou à Magog (il y a plus d’options). Oftentimes just being around others who are living as a family of servants on mission is enough to jumpstart something crazy in your own life.
Once you’re here we will challenge you to get involved by being part of one of our missional communities that consists of others who live close to you, we call these city groups. This is so you can spend time together easily, like family, and be most effective at serving neighbours and the city together. You can see more about city group life here, here, here, and here. As you may have gathered, city group life is church life and this is the primary context for all of us to grow and to exercise our gifts in serving God by serving others. All of the city groups in each city gather together in one place each Sunday morning to worship through the proclamation of the gospel and to respond together in song, prayer, giving, communion, and more!
City group leaders shepherd their groups, encouraging, equipping, and empowering their people to engage the city as they live out their gospel DNA. As individuals live out their identity and begin to consistently lead others to do the same through their influence, example, and instruction they are invited to be trained as new city group leaders. After co-leading with some experienced leaders for a time there will be opportunities to multiply one of our existing groups or to begin a new group in a different neighbourhood within the city. This process is one of multiplying disciples which leads to the multiplication of the city group as the organizational element as well.
Fruitful, experienced city group leaders will be called on to share their gifts and expertise with other leaders through regular coaching. Once we have many city groups functioning within a region of the city we begin to develop organization around a common leadership and opportunity to gather for weekly worship. This course is just one of the ways in which we expect the church to grow and through which we will see new churches planted.
How do you take part?
Those leaders who evidence the character and potential to successfully move through the leadership pipeline will be considered for the certification program. But we also expect many to approach us from outside of our existing church with a desire to be trained and equipped for the call to plant churches. These must also demonstrate the calling, gifting, and character appropriate for someone who will lead God’s church on his mission. They will be invited to walk through our admission process which among other things requires sufficient evidence that one is already living out the gospel DNA and leading others to do the same both individually and in groups. Contact us to get started at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will work closely with those candidates selected for the program to identify the best place for them to live and work in the city such that we can provide them the best training and coaching possible. Bi-vocational residents will continue their careers or find new work to support themselves financially. Vocational planters/pastors will be responsible for raising adequate funds and establishing themselves prior to beginning the 2 year program.
The training which leads to certification is based on a 2 year track. It is possible that some may move through the training faster or may take a bit longer depending on their background, personal situation, and the way in which the Spirit works to provide opportunities for them throughout the training. While the goal is that each person is equipped and ready to plant or lead within a church plant upon completion of the training, the time table for such things is always dependant on the movement of the Spirit of God. We want to always be ready to move when he moves but not try to move faster to our own detriment. This is why prayer and faith are so integral to the entire process.
Theory and Practice
Most of what has been described to this point emphasizes the experience side of the residency. That is what makes it a residency and not merely an academic pursuit. We recognize the value of the intellectual and the affective, or motivational, preparation for leadership and these components will be addressed through vast exposures, exercises, and coached experiences along the way. There are plenty of readings, assignments, workshops and seminars, and countless opportunities to put everything that is learned into practice. While we use an online learning management system to facilitate much of the theoretical training, the bulk of the residency is lived out practically with others who help as coaches and peers. There is also an opportunity for some of our residents to take part in a learning cohort with C2C Network, one of our closest partners in advancing the gospel and planting churches in Quebec.
Apprentices can expect to devote most of their energy and time to this endeavour during their sojourn in the program yet the way they engage must constitute a sustainable lifestyle of service through leadership. The program is designed very simply around the principle of living out that which Jesus commanded and leading and training others to do likewise over and over again. We believe this will be the means by which Jesus continually builds his church here in Quebec and throughout the world!