Full-term residency is a rigorous program, beginning each September and sometimes in January.
- A typical week includes four full days of coaching, group discussion, guided reading, sermon preparation and church-plant planning.
- Significant ministry involvement is expected on the weekends and some evenings.
- Due to the demanding nature of the program, it is not feasible for residents to work in addition to their studies.
Virtually every topic covered involves both theology and practice, and is geared toward the needs of the senior pastor. Training is divided into four areas of focus.
Here we cover the biblical and theological distinctives that unite all Harvest churches:
We also provide biblical perspective on some of the finer points of doctrine, where Christians tend to disagree. Believing decisively that character drives ministry, we spend time getting to know residents. We help them grow in holiness and wisdom, so they might be good examples to the flock.
A high view of Scripture is essential to effective ministry. We make sure residents are passionately committed to the inerrancy, authority and sufficiency of God’s Word. All aspects of sermon preparation and delivery are covered, along with opportunities for residents to use and develop their preaching gifts. Residents are exposed to rigorous criticism and edifying encouragement throughout. The practical application of Scripture to life and ministry is a major emphasis.
We examine the leader as shepherd, builder and manager. We explore in detail the key relationships every Senior Pastor has: elders, worship leaders, staff, and challenging people. Residents are evaluated for leadership ability in a number of ministry contexts throughout the year. Focused attention is paid to their ability to communicate passion, conviction and vision in biblically-correct ways.
Church Planting Focus.
While planning for the launch of their own church, residents are instructed by men who have planted healthy churches. Field trips are scheduled to various Harvest churches to see first hand how the Harvest model works as well as having Harvest Sr. Pastors instruct in the Training Center. As churches grow, ministries become more complex, resulting in the need for skills in organization, coordination, budgeting, planning, and strategic prayer. Residents learn principles of ministry management, shepherding issues, and how to identify, train and motivate volunteers covering all practical aspects of caring for people. Residents will gain experience practicing each of these in real ministry settings.
As much as possible, we utilize the “action learning” model. Residents learn by doing real ministry projects in real time with real consequences, under the guidance of a seasoned pastor. The lecture model is generally avoided in favor of the Socratic method, coaching and case studies. Spirited group discussions are the norm.