The Church Planting Residency Program of the Minnesota Deanery of the Anglican Diocese of the Upper Midwest

Why begin a Residency Program to raise up church planters?

Starting new churches is widely recognized by a diversity of Christian leaders across denominational lines as the most effective means of reaching people who are disconnected from Christ and his church. It is a key way for us to obey the biblical mandate to go and make disciples. The Anglican expression of faith is uniquely suited to reach unchurched people who may not connect with other evangelical churches, in particular those who grew up in liturgical traditions and desire a church with traditional elements. We see a residency program being a means for starting many new Anglican churches throughout the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota, and neighboring states like North Dakota and Wisconsin.

The churches of the Minnesota Deanery of the Anglican Diocese of the Upper Midwest share a commitment to plant churches. The Church Planter Residency program will help us to create a stronger church planting culture in our churches, and give the members of our congregations ownership in investing in future plants. The emphasis on investing in planters is a shift from our first church planting experience of sending out a large group from one church to start a new congregation, but is better suited to a vision of reaching a wider area and of sustaining church planting for the long haul. This program, however, would not rule out the possibility of sending out groups to plant churches in the future, it just better prepares us to have leaders ready to lead those churches.

What would it look like?

The program will consist of two phases and take place over 18-24 months. Both phases will have three basic goals: assessment, ministry experience, and support. Phase 1 will have a broader focus and be a time for discernment and a wide range of ministry experiences and teachings. Phase 2 will focus in on areas specific to the initial stages of a church plant.

Phase 1 (12 months)

Assessment:

  • Regular meetings with rector and other leaders for discussion and evaluation of fulfillment of ministry goals.
  • Planter and spouse meet monthly with discernment team
  • Use of assessment tools like StrengthsFinder, DISC, and/or Church Planting Assessments.

Ministry Experience:

  • Resident will be given a wide range of ministry experiences necessary for a church planter including: preaching and teaching; forming and leading a 6-8 week small group; recruiting volunteers for a ministry task; planning a special service; hosting an outreach event or leading a class for seekers and new Christians; observing and serving with a variety of church ministries (youth and children, missions team, building, prayer ministry); and attending several staff meetings and vestry meetings.  (This will take place mainly at one church, but there will be opportunities to serve at both churches over Phase 1).  All of the above will be done under guidance of the rector.

Support:

  • Coaching from rector and other experienced leaders
  • Guided study and discussion
  • Monthly teaching time with Deanery rectors and their spouses, and other leaders
  • Attendance at conferences and retreats

Phase 2  (6-12 months)  

(The schedule below applies to those who end Phase 1 with a confirmed call to plant a church.  Where a different call has been discerned the Deanery will assist the resident in making connections to help pursue that call.)

 Assessment

  • Evaluation of key skills to be developed for church planting
  • Evaluation of key needs for church plant
  • Discernment around location of church plant

Ministry Experience

  • Church plant boot camp (with members of launch team)
  • Fundraising
  • Focused ministry involvement shaped by needs determined during Phase 1

Support

  • Connection to people and financial resources in congregations
  • Coaching from rectors and other diocesan leaders and coaches

At end of Phase 2 the planter will have raised some initial support, determined location of plant, and begun to gather a launch team.

Who can apply?

Applicants must be actively exploring a call to church planting in the Anglican church, but also be open to discerning that call with other leaders. They should have received some theological education–either through an academic institution or independent study, and have had some previous leadership experience in a church. They should either be ordained in the Anglican church, or ready to begin an ordination process  during the residency. The program is currently designed to train church planters who will become rectors, and therefore only male applicants will be considered as our diocese ordains men only to the priesthood.

What is the expectation of the Resident?

• 12-15 hours per week of ministry

  • Weekly meeting with rector and monthly deanery meeting (if married, wife also attends deanery meeting)
  • Ongoing study with rectors and other residents
  • Monthly meeting with discernment team (with spouse)
  • Commitment to starting a church that would start churches

What is the expectation of our churches?

Rectors: Interviewing and assessing potential residents; weekly meeting with church resident; monthly meeting with all MN residents; overseeing and evaluating ministry experience of resident; connecting resident with other leaders and resources in the church, the deanery, the diocese, and wider church.

Other Church Staff: Allowing residents to participate and possibly lead in areas of ministry they oversee; offering training opportunities and ideas to resident; providing feedback and evaluation to resident and rector.

Vestry: Potentially serving on discernment team for resident; providing input to rector on choosing resident; welcoming residents to sit in on meetings; sharing with residents input about experience of serving on vestry.

Congregation: Hospitality, generosity, grace, willingness to serve on discernment team, prayer (everyone else is expected to pray as well!).

For more information, or if you are interested in applying for this residency, please contact Rector Christian Ruch (christian@ofthecross.org).