Dr. Death and Pastoral Residencies

If you like documentary style podcasts, you’d probably like Dr. Death by Wondery.


It’s about a neurosurgeon who botched most of the surgeries he performed over several years.

Turns out he got out of medical school, internships, and residencies with only a very small fraction of supervised surgeries that most surgeons get in their training.

His horrible (and horrifying) record of botched surgeries was complicated by drugs, alcohol, and probably some kind of serious personality disorder(s).

How many people are launched into vocational pastoral ministry without the proper “practice” and supervision?

I don’t know, but I’m thankful for the years I spent serving in a multi-staff church, being mentored all along the way, before coming to Five Oaks. I’m thankful I had a lot more than book learning and classroom instruction.

This year we’re launching a formal pastoral residency program.

We see it as part of our disciple-making mandate.

Jesus didn’t “give a mission to the church, he formed a church for his mission." And part of taking disciple-making seriously is to look at it from the meta level—pastors who make pastor-making pastors and churches that plant church-planting churches.

We had been prayerfully looking at ways to do this intentionally through our strong leadership development culture in our staff. Then about two years ago our district got a new superintendent, Brian Farone. Brian had worked with many churches that took this church planting mission seriously and did it through a process of formal pastoral residency.

This process takes a seminary graduate (in most cases) and leads them through a two-year process of mentoring, development, and disciple-making that helps them grow into a leader that can plant or revitalize a church.

So, after prayerful and careful consideration, our board and staff are leading the charge to embark on this venture.

Please pray with us as our church looks to be a people who live sent on mission in everything we do.

For more insight on this topic, check out the book Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches that Send or read a short summary here.