by Christian Ruch

Since Church of the Cross began almost ten years ago, it has been our hope that we could help start more Anglican churches throughout Minnesota and beyond.  About three years ago we were blessed to see our daughter church, Church of the Redeemer, get started in St. Paul.  And now, as a further step in pursuing this dream, I am excited to announce that this fall Church of the Cross will be launching a church planting residency program.  The goal of the residency is to host a future church planter at our church for up to two years, offering him ministry experience, discernment, and support.  We see this first offering as a sort of initial pilot program with the goal of making church planting residencies an ongoing ministry of our Minnesota Deanery (our deanery is currently composed of two churches, ours and Redeemer).

The formation of this program grew out of initial discussions Molly and I have had with Nathan and Stephanie Dickerson from Church of the Redeemer.  We all share a desire to see more Anglican churches birthed in Minnesota and have prayed about the next steps we can take to help reach that goal.  We are committed to inviting those who are ready to plant churches to consider planting here, but we also felt that we needed to do something to invest in and raise up future church planters for this area. We had heard of other Anglican churches developing programs to train planters and wondered if this is something we could adapt for Minnesota.

Those discussions led to a process of speaking to a number of other church leaders across various denominations who are training and sending out church planters.  We learned a lot about what has worked well and heard many stories of attempts that didn’t work so well–nothing like learning from other people’s mistakes!  We then gathered the input we received from them and used that information to develop a residency program that would be a good fit for our churches.  The vestry of Church of the Cross has also prayed about and helped clarify the goals of this program, believing it is an important step for us to take in fulfilling the vision and mission the Lord has given us.

I encourage all of you to go here on our website to read a more detailed description of the residency. It includes not just the expectations of the resident, but also what we will be expecting of members of our church as we host a resident.  I also ask you to pray about the launching of this new endeavor and for our first residents (who, in some ways, will be playing the roles of guinea pigs).  If you would like to see the application for the residency program, or know someone whom you think would be interested in applying, please contact me at christian@ofthecross.org.

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