“I am firmly convinced that in view of what the young theologians bring with them from university and in view of the work which will be demanded of them in the parishes…they need a completely different kind of training.”
We have patterned our method after Dietrich Bonhoeffer's way of training pastors. He began and directed a small "Haus seminary" to train men through "life together under the Word." The students lived, worked, studied, and prayed together. They received rigorous theological training in a manner that yielded character formation rather than merely the transfer of information.
Bonhoeffer's Finkenwaald seminary presents us with historic methods for training future leaders; theological formation, meaningful apprenticeships, and shared life together within the local church.
Alongside life in the Church we incorporate the varied distance options seminaries offer (online, weekenders, equip centers). Seminaries provide a vital belt of tools for ministry. However, learning to use those tools takes time which is why we pair each apprentice with a local pastor who is committed to demonstrating, partnering, observing, and coaching while sharing his life with apprentices.
Apprentices serve under a pastor from one of our partner churches. They spend meaningful time in a mentoring relationship observing the everyday rhythms and routines of the local church. We follow this basic pattern of ministry appenticeship:
1 Pastor works, Apprentice observes
2 Pastor and Apprentice work together
3 Apprentice works, Pastor observes
While serving in a variety of local churches, our apprentices work in close community with each other. We have a regular rhythms of worship, reading, study and fellowship together. Additionally we aim to place apprentices in groups to take intensive seminary classes together, and share monthly dinners with their families.
We partner with Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to craft an academic plan for our apprentices to complete their education from a distance. This is done through a combination of distance courses, on-campus intensives and live courses offered by a credentialed faculty member in a nearby equip center. Seminary coursework is often supplemented with reading overseen by their mentoring pastor.