Early Ministry Initiative hosts a meeting to develop resident pastor positions.

Rev. Russ Gunsalus, Executive Director of The Division of Education & Clergy Development, convened more than 50 Wesleyan ministers from across the denomination the last week of September to found a new residency initiative for The Wesleyan Church. The group plans to get graduating students involved in 1-2 years of practical training in a local church after their education so they can get practical on-the-job equipping for ministry. The goal of the effort is “to make a 1-2 year residency be as common as college for new ministers.” The 50+ Roundtable participants organized as nine workgroups as they developed strategies and hammered out the shape of the new Residency program. College and Universities were involved too and will continue to offer shorter internships of “a semester or summer.” The “Resident Minister” is a 1-2 year experience in a local church where the new minister can be mentored and coached by a skilled veteran pastor. Dozens of these positions already exist in the Wesleyan Church and more than a hundred should be available in the next few years. These residencies will provide the opportunity for students to gain the necessary experience early on in their ministry that puts them on a trajectory to be healthy, fit and effective ministers for a lifetime. This residency program is being developed in conjunction with the Early Ministry Initiative.

The Early Ministry Initiative exists to create a network of churches, thought leaders, and lead practitioners who will provide effective apprenticeship, internship and mentoring programs for new ministers in order to develop healthy, fit and effective ministers from the beginning of their ministry. This Initiative helps healthy, local churches and effective pastors provide entering ministers with the development, support, and training needed during the first five years of ministry. Whether a new graduate from college or a second career pastor, The Wesleyan Church wants the first five years of ministry to develop a healthy, fit and effective Ministry.

Rev. Russ Gunsalus is the Executive Director of The Division of Education and Clergy Development of the Wesleyan Church. Dr. Keith Drury provides additional leadership to the Early Ministry Initiative.

The Division of Education and Clergy Development of The Wesleyan Church seeks to develop healthy, fit, and effective ministers and to advance strong, effective and sustainable Colleges and Universities in order to transform lives, churches, and communities through the hope and holiness of Jesus Christ.