Calvary Baptist Church launches a new pastoral residency

Feb 10, 2014 | Pastoral Excellence Network

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Crossing the threshold from seminary to active ministry within a congregation is not always a smooth transition. Usually clergy are simultaneously maneuvering a series of concurrent changes such as moving to an unfamiliar city or sometimes helping their loved ones to adjust—while at the same time, establishing their own role as a minister among a particular people and within a particular congregation’s culture and history.

Since 2000, a growing number of congregations have, with the support of the Lilly Endowment Inc., ventured into providing a significant formative experience to new clergy called a “pastoral residency.” These Transition into Ministry programs have been an immense help to new clergy by providing a “residency” setting (much like a doctor’s “residency”) in which new clergy can be actively engaged in ministry and at the same time find the intentional guidance of a mentor, a mentoring congregation, and, oftentimes, a mentoring group of new clergy. Research on these programs has shown their increasing relevant impact on new clergy, congregations, seminary education, and the larger church. They have refined our understanding of the perspectives and practices that contribute to pastoral excellence in the first years of ministry.

We are happy to announce the launch of a new pastoral residency program at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Rev. Amy Butler, the pastor of Calvary Baptist, drew deeply on her conversations with a colleague, Rev. George Mason, pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church (a pastoral residency setting), who has also authored Preparing the Pastors We Need: Reclaiming the Congregation’s Role in Training Clergy, which pulls together the experiences and practices of many pastoral residency programs.

Calvary Baptist Church’s residency is part of a next generation of pastoral residency programs that are relying more fully on the congregation’s own stewardship. In this case, a reconfiguration of Calvary Baptist Church’s own staffing due to some transitions made it possible for it to fully fund two full-time positions. Two Pastoral Residents will serve Calvary for staggered three-year terms.

In a recent visit, Chris Braudaway-Bauman and Larry Peers of the Pastoral Excellence Network (PEN) were able to meet with Rev. Butler and to learn more about Calvary Baptist Church. They were inspired by the remarkable opportunities for ministry this church and the mentoring pastor have to offer. Indeed, this historic congregation in a diverse neighborhood of Washington and this pastor together have a remarkable story to tell about how they have, in the last decade become a dramatically vibrant and exciting center of ministry on a very busy street corner in our nation’s capital.

PEN looks forward to supporting Calvary Baptist’s pastoral residency by connecting them with the experiences and expertise of other residency programs and by helping them to share with others their unfolding story of the impact of their generous commitment to a current and future church through their new pastoral residency. For more information about applying, visit http://calvarydc.org/calvary-baptist-church-seeks-pastoral-resident/.

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