By Jennifer Johnson
Several of the Restoration Movement’s largest churches have created internship programs, some that involve entire cohorts of students and work with colleges and universities for academic credit.
“Those are wonderful opportunities for students, and we love what those churches are doing,” says Becki Kern. “But we decided our niche would be a more customized program that works one-on-one with each individual. With that goal in mind, we launched the Reveal Residency in 2014.”
Kern, who serves as campus launch pastor and director of Reveal at Pantano Christian Church, Tucson, AZ, designed the program to work with people at every age and every life stage.
“There is a strong focus on personal spiritual development as well as leadership training and hands-on ministry,” she says. “We want the experience to be helpful for the young person just exploring ministry, the person who has completed seminary, and the older person exploring a midlife change or a postretirement ministry. If they feel a calling from God, we want to help them figure out their next steps.”
To facilitate this flexibility, the residency is not based on a calendar year or school year; applicants can begin the program at any time. Because participants are also coming from a variety of backgrounds, the residency has a contingency to include an educational component.
“We’ve partnered with Ministry Resources Institute and their Bible Mastery Course,” Kern says. “It’s a 32-week class that grounds people in what the Bible says and how to interpret it. Many of our staff have also worked through the course.”
As part of the residency, interns also have the opportunity to grow in their personal spiritual formation and work through the Church Planting Assessment Center’s (CPAC) program.
“CPAC is difficult, but it shows our interns the factors in their lives that can come back to hurt them in ministry if they don’t deal with them,” Kern says. “We want to send them out as prepared as possible, and we’re finding that their personal development as leaders is just as important as their professional development. With the way our leadership team is gifted, we have people able to help. So if a resident is dealing with an integrity issue, or even a broken heart that hasn’t healed, we can help them personally grow in their faith before they go out and try to minister to others.”
Of course, the residency also includes lots of opportunities for hands-on ministry. The experience is designed to provide access to the entire leadership team, including lead pastor Glen Elliott.
“Our whole team is invested in this,” Kern says. “The interns are treated as staff. This is important not only for their own growth and learning, but because we want them to understand what real ministry in the local church is like. Sometimes people leave Bible college or seminary and don’t realize they will be sitting in meetings or having to work with teams in ways that stretch them. We want them to have this experience with us—before they take on the enormity of a full-time ministry on their own.”
The residence program is $12,000 for 12 months and includes housing and utilities, a food stipend, CPAC, involvement in a camp or conference, strengths and personality testing, personal financial coaching, a weekly session with an outside pastoral coach, as well as the year of hands-on ministry training in their area of calling. Visit www.pantano.church/ministries/reveal/ to learn more and apply online.