Our Burden is to Produce Faithful Shepherds
Immanuel’s Pastoral Apprenticeship is a three-year program designed to raise up men from within the church who will shepherd this congregation for years to come, as well as, to train men to be sent out to churches in America and to the nations. We want to entrust the gospel message to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Tim. 2:2). The program includes biblical and theological study in a classroom setting, as well as opportunities to observe and participate in practical, pastoral ministry. We want to see men grow in knowledge, character, and experience, so we structure our efforts to address all of these areas.
Pastoral training can, unintentionally, often lead men into a sea of books and away from the text of Scripture; other times it can lead men into viewing Scripture simply as a subject to be mastered. We’re committed to helping men avoid both pitfalls. For the first year, apprentices will learn and drink deeply from the rich theology of the book of Romans, reading, discussing, and applying this powerful book together. Apprentices will also engage deeply and prayerfully with common “ministry scenarios.” Each first year apprentice will prepare, deliver, and be critiqued on a sermon preached to the class. They’ll also be involved in a strategic ministry connected to Immanuel.
After spending a full year immersed in Biblical study, apprentices become the practitioners, and we ask them to test and sharpen their skills by teaching through all genres of Scripture and core biblical doctrines. Apprentices will read weekly theological assignments, coordinating with lectures and discussions. These discussions won’t be able to solve all of the deepest theological questions, but will rather give apprentices a sure foundation for a lifetime of handling theological issues in the local church.
The third year aims to provide apprentices with the wisdom and experience necessary to put their biblical and theological knowledge to use in the church. A variety of practical ministry topics are covered, including church planting, ecclesiology, Biblical counseling, mercy ministry, Baptist distincives, missions, and spiritual warfare. Each apprentice will also prepare and present a ministry project. By the end of the third year, the apprentice should have a strong grasp on his next steps in ministry to the Lord and His church.