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. The third year will culminate with the personal assessment by the elders, followed by a possible affirmation & recommendation to the apprentice for his next steps in his ministry to the Lord and His church.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can apply?
Applicants must be Immanuel members in good standing, being already faithfully involved in Immanuel’s 3 core commitments (Sunday Worship Gathering, Sunday Prayer Gathering, and Gospel Community Groups). Additionally, apprentices are expected to have a regular pattern of fellowshipping with the Lord and a sustained habit of walking in holiness.
What's the cost?
There is a minimal cost to help the church cover the price of materials, special guest speakers, and food. The cost also covers admittance to the Immanuel Network Summit in February for the apprentice and his spouse. Scholarships may be available for those in need and are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
When do you meet?
We meet on Friday mornings from 5:45-8:00. The apprenticeship runs from September to May with a short break for Christmas.
What happens after completion of the apprenticeship?
After 3 years of study, effort, ministry and mentoring, the elders and body of Immanuel will be well-placed to give an informed assessment of your life, gifts, and growth. “Graduation” from the program does not guarantee that one will become an elder at Immanuel.
I'm not sure I have 3 years to give. Should I start?
Yes! Even one year in the apprenticeship will equip and shape a man for future ministry, even if he can’t complete the program. Those who participate in all 3 years will be strengthened all the more, while receiving a knowledgeable assessment from the pastors.
I'm not sure I'm called to be a pastor. Should I join?
This is a resource for men desiring to be excellent churchmen, as well as those desiring to be pastors one day. All three years of the apprenticeship are designed to equip men to understand and apply the Bible.
Do I need to complete the apprenticeship in order to be sent through the Immanuel Network?
The normal expectation of those who will be affirmed and sent through the Immanuel Network is that they will have completed the full three years of the apprenticeship.
Can I receive school credit for going through the apprenticeship?
Yes! Those who are enrolled at Boyce College or Southern Seminary can take the apprenticeship for up to 18 hours of course credit. The classes fall into the realm of an integrated supervised ministry and align with the categories of Outreach, Proclamation, and Leadership.
It seems like a lot of work. Can it really be done?
Yes! Even more could be included in the program, but we want to include the basics of what cultivates a faithful pastor. Still, it will require self-discipline, perseverance, and perhaps a few sleepless nights. It will require what is often required of pastors.