Rising Role of Internships and Residencies for Churches

Leadership Network recently asked over 1,600 large church leaders: “Does your church offer an internship or residency program for training future leaders?” A surprising 72% said “yes.”

One of the pioneers in recent years is Community Christian Church, Naperville, IL, which for 10 years has offered a Leadership Residency (a term adapted from the way medical doctors in training hone their craft under the tutelage of seasoned physicians). The church’s NewThing Network has challenged each of their more than 100 sites to develop at least one leadership resident per church per year. A NewThing Leadership Residency includes personal coaching, networking experiences, opportunity to apprentice, lead and reproduce a small group, ability to provide point leadership to a particular ministry of interest, and a 25% discount on master’s level credit through Wheaton College.

In this insightful interview, NewThing Director Patrick O’Connell talks about mistakes often made in residency and internship programs, how they find participants, the phases of the residency, the two-pronged development process, and more. He is interviewed by Warren Bird, research director for Leadership Network.