Jump directly to the content
May 4, 2012

Pastoral Apprentice Program: Your Input Solicited

On Wednesday night, I tweeted that I was working on our Grace Church plan for a pastoral apprentice program. Several people asked if I would share the information on my blog so I am doing so here. However, I'd like to solicit your input on what we are doing.

We planted Grace about a year ago and have grown to over 200 a week and our movie theater is getting full-- so, it is time to send some people out! (OK, not right away, but we do want to start training them so we might send them out.) Some of them are already in our church and some will be people who come to our church for training to then be sent out-- some as pastors and some as planters.

So, take a look at at this description and information and give me some feedback in the comments. What looks good, what needs more details, and what do we need to reconsider. Thanks.

Grace Church

Pastoral Apprentice Program


To provide training and development for leaders seeking to move into pastor/elder roles in church ministry.


Those who enter the program must meet the requirements laid out in 1 Timothy 3 for a pastor/elder, meet with Ed Stetzer and the Grace Church staff, and be accepted into the program.


The pastoral apprentice team would meet for one monthly extended staff meeting for sermon preparation, attend staff meetings every other week, and be involved in normal activities of the church (worship, Life Group, and ongoing meetings).


The pastoral apprentice team will read one book a month and write a reflection paper on that book. The team would discuss that in a meeting the first Saturday of each month.


A large part of the plan for the internship will be to participate in a preaching team. The preaching team will meet at least once a month for planning and then will include ongoing preparation.

First Saturday sermon preparation: 3 hour preaching preparation meeting (required for all in the program).

Monthly preaching: The apprentice would preach at least once a month, generally using the sermon prepared as part of the preaching prep team. (Grace Church staff would work to arrange these preaching opportunities, but cannot guarantee them. These would be outside of Grace Church as we already have two teaching pastors.) The sermon preached would be one that the team prepared together.

Sermon review: The team would review the sermon of the other members of the teaching time.

Sermon evaluation: The Pastor Apprentice Team would review the sermons from Ed Stetzer and use those as learning opportunities. Ed Stetzer would also review one sermon per month and make suggestions for preaching improvement.

Ministry leadership:

Over the course of a year, each of the apprentices will lead in two major and several minor leadership experiences. The "major" projects will be six month emphases (for example, co-lead Life Groups to increase LG attendance to 75% of worship attendance). The minor projects will be assigned by staff. The intent is that that pastor apprentices will experience some of the administrative and leadership work involved in pastoring a church.

Also, all the pastoral apprentices will either be leading or co-leading a Life Group, involved in evangelism and outreach through calls and visits, discipling leaders, and be involved in outreach events.


The intent of this unpaid apprenticeship is that those who participate would then leave Grace Church to take on pastoral or church planting roles in other churches, either bi-vocationally or vocationally. This apprenticeship should not be seen as a pathway to employment at Grace Church. This is a time of exploration: some may complete the apprenticeship and determine that they are not called to the office of pastor/elder and, as such, may chose to stay at Grace Church. Others will be sent out.

Academic credit:

Although this program is a year in length, Grace Church will also provide the option of earning a seminary degree in a partnership between our church and a seminary (details to be announced). Students will be able to complete a seminary education without relocation from Hendersonville. If you plan to take advantage of this opportunity, you should note that your schooling will take longer than this apprenticeship.

Students at other seminaries or colleges may want to work with their school to get academic credit for the program.

Staff relationships:

Ed Stetzer will be program leader. Jess Rainer will be the staff liason and overseer for the apprenticeship. All the Grace Church staff will work with the apprentice team.

If you are interested, email info@gogracechurch.com.

Support our work. Subscribe to CT and get one year free.

Related Topics:None
Posted:May 4, 2012 at 12:00 am


Please read our comment policy before you weigh in, and then feel free to comment on Facebook.

More From This Blog

Walking in Obedience to the Promptings of God’s Spirit and His Command to Love: Lessons from Burning Man

Walking in Obedience to the Promptings of God’s Spirit and His Command to Love: Lessons from Burning Man

Many of the people at Burning Man are searching for something to satisfy them spiritually
Evangelism and the Marketplace: Four Stories of Evangelism on the Streets of Chicago

Evangelism and the Marketplace: Four Stories of Evangelism on the Streets of Chicago

Evangelism professor talks to people while they're waiting for the train
More on Leaving White Evangelicalism: A Response from Bryan Loritts

More on Leaving White Evangelicalism: A Response from Bryan Loritts

People of color need to establish our own conferences, organizations, and networks.
20 Truths from "Sing!"

20 Truths from "Sing!"

When we sing we witness to the people in our church who are yet to believe

Follow Ed Stetzer

Exchange Logo

Dr. John Sorensen, President of Evangelism Explosion International, a ministry that has trained millions of Christians around the world to share Christ, discusses the state of evangelism, research on evangelism trends, as well as myths and methods of evangelism.

Cast: Ed Stetzer

Read ED Stetzer's Books

See All

Follow Christianity Today

Christianity Today
Pastoral Apprentice Program: Your Input Solicited