As we were preparing to write this newsletter we were also in the midst of hiring the next class of interns for the Resident Leadership Program. It struck us that we have made references to the program and introduced you to a few of the students but have not provided a more comprehensive look at this absolutely vital aspect of how we advance God’s kingdom.
Early in 2013, we did a trial with some seminary students trying to understand the impact they could have on how many conversations we could take on as a ministry and whether those conversations would be augmented by their seminary experience. The trial was a huge success and we set out to formalize a program that would benefit students, the ministry and the kingdom.
The Resident Leadership Program was developed in response to that challenge. This program helps prepare the future leaders of the church with significant real-life evangelism experience unavailable in traditional seminary training. It is a one-year paid internship focusing primarily on evangelism along with leadership training. We bring on a new class of 3-6 people each quarter so we have a rotating team of Residents that increases our response capacity and allows us to test new ideas with a skilled team of online evangelists.
The program’s participant objectives include providing high volume live evangelism experience through engaging people of different cultures and beliefs while sharing biblical and theological truth. Residents also get the opportunity to study Christian leadership and model leadership skills through leading a small team of volunteers. In the process, students have an opportunity to appraise their personal ministry vision and vocational plans based on the experiences of the residency as well as validate their own personal strengths, weaknesses, and sin issues that affect their spiritual walk and ability to provide servant leadership.
The first two years saw 47 seminarians participate in the program. This included young people from India, Ghana, Argentina, Mexico, Canada, Northern Ireland and Spain. This small group of committed evangelists had over 75,000 conversations through Need Him Global in that brief time.
As one recent graduate said: “This program has been most helpful to me in three areas. 1) Strengthening my awareness of culture, and my ability to engage it with the truth of God’s word. 2) Motivating a desire for a prayerful and spirit-filled life. 3) Helping me to immediately apply classroom knowledge into applicable and practical knowledge. This program helped me to become a good proclaimer of God’s truth which speaks to the human heart in any generation.”
This Resident Leadership Program has gone from initial experiment to a proven and critical element of our effectiveness as a worldwide ministry.