The D. James Kennedy Institute
For Reformed Leadership and Training
A Pastoral Residency and Fellows Program
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
The D. James Kennedy Institute for Reformed Leadership and Training announces the pastoral fellowship-in-residence year. The pastoral fellowship-in-residence year is an opportunity for newly ordained or soon-to-be-ordained clergy to invest twelve months in an intensive time of professional training following their graduation from seminary. More than a mere “add-on” to seminary, the residential training provides a structured environment for growth as a believer in Jesus Christ, as well as a pastor in the Body of Christ. The residency, much like a fellowship in other professions (e.g., medicene), will feature:
- a structured time of supervised integration of theory to practice;
- an intentional place for lay leaders to speak into the formal training of those ministers called to serve their church as pastors;
- an appropriate mix of accessible technologies (e.g., GoToMeeting; Logos Bible Software), readings, ministry experiences (each with a verbatim), and monthly, structured, one-on-one meetings with a Senior Fellow and with others to reflect on each of the twelve subjects experienced during residency;
- an intensive time of spiritual formation for a lifetime of Biblically, theologically reflective and spiritually resilient pastoral ministry;
- a fellowship that includes pastoral family members as an intentional and undeniably valued participants throughout the pastoral residential program.
Too often young ministers leave seminary and head into their first calling—a local church, the mission field, an institutional chaplaincy, teaching ministry, or para-church ministry—without the benefit of what medical school students receive: a residency, or, a fellowship. There is no time to “make sense” of the intense time of theological studies before being “hurled” into the often harsh reality of broken people and their needs.
The D. James Kennedy Institute seeks to address this problem that is common to most denominations by implementing a year-in-residence fellowship program, at the place of ministry where they have been called, that builds on the student’s present call, available peers and mentors from within his own collegial community, and utilizes Logos Bible software for readings, lectures and breakout sessions delivered through synchronous asynchronous methods, all delivered to the student within the field of ministry.
The program is seeking support for development and implementation. Please contact us for further details.
The D. James Kennedy Institute for Reformed Leadership and Training exists to train and develop ordained ministers in all denominations to become Scripturally-tethered, mission-oriented, and vocationally-faithful in order to better serve the Church, more joyfully pursue their callings, and, thereby, to more effectively fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Institute will realize the vision primarily through the means of the D. James Kennedy Fellows Program. The “Fellows” program is a twelve-month intensive period of lectures, readings, and one-on-one mentoring. The aim is to provide a “residential” add-on year after seminary—a “fellowship year in the parish”—in the student’s first full year of ordained ministry.
The Fellowship seeks to provides a residential period of reflection on the practice of ministry for the vocational good of the new minister and, concurrently, the congregational health of the local church.
- Integrates theology and practice, faith and life;
- Focuses on loving God, loving people;
- Cultivates a pastoral life of prayer, evangelism, and a practical world and life faith.
- The Institute seeks to inculcate these virtues and objectives through twelve monthly lectures, supported by:
- A peer-to-peer small group;
- A ministry experience;
- A verbatim (written account of the ministry encounter);
- Mentoring time (verbatim is discussed, amended, accepted); and
- A portfolio.
The Fellowship Syllabus:
The following describes the learning system with the D. James Kennedy Institute, which is applied to the “student”—the newly ordained minister who is the pastoral-fellow-residence—in the local church.
The Fellowship team consists of the lecturer, a Senior Fellow, supplied by the D. James Kennedy Institute, whose messages will be broadcast live in a synchronous educational learning system (ELS). These lectures are once per month and will occur on the last Monday night of each month, from 8:00 until 9:00 PM. The rest of the team includes peer, the lay authority, and the mentor. Each is chosen by the student. Each must, also, sign the Statement of Faith and be willing to meet with you once per month for about 45 minutes, following the guidelines for each, provided by the Institute.
The material is presented each week with a lecture. The student, then, meets with a peer to discuss the readings and the lectures and to reflect further about
the meaning of the material for the local church or ministry. After an actual experience or application of the material within the parish or ministry context the
student meets with a mentor and church authority for further reflection and prayer about the experience. Finally, the student meets with his wife to discuss the
verbatim. The two of them may choose to include the children with the material for that month and apply it as they see fit.
The learning process requires that the student enter into a learning contract with a (1) peer-to-peer relationship, (2) a mentoring-relationship, and (3) an authority
relationship, all within the local church or community where the student is conducting a Christian shepherding ministry.
The student writes a verbatim for each ministry experience. These written accounts of ministry are shared with mentors, who provide coaching and
accountability. The verbatim accounts are reported to the Institute, compiled, and become a part of the final portfolio of the fellowship year.
Themes in the Residence
The themes of the twelve-month fellowship-in-residence program are based upon Biblical patterns of ministerial renewal and pastoral encouragement (e.g., John 21, 1 Timothy 1). The Fellowship is built on these twelve themes constructed within four quarterly headings:
First Quarter: Genesis
- Conversion (Reflecting on your own sacred encounter with the risen Christ and that encounter’s continuing formation on your present ministry)
- Catechesis (Reflecting and integrating your early Christian formation with your present ministry)
- Calling (Reflecting and integrating on your vocation and your present ministry)
Second Quarter: Adjusting
- Family (how your marriage and family life find a healthy adjustment to the realities of pastoral ministry)
- Spirituality (how your daily, private spiritual rituals nurture your public ministry)
- Parish (exploring the dynamics of the pastor and congregation, local congregational
leadership, denominational adjudicatory, other clergy, civil authorities, possibilities for collegial relationships to enhance ministry)
Third Quarter: Self-awareness
- Visitation (integrating theology and practice at the bedside)
- Counseling (conducting pastoral diagnoses and Biblical counseling with an emphasis upon self-reflection and your dependence upon the work of the Spirit of God and the means of grace in your counseling)
- Pulpit (growing in self-awareness concerning your own unique voice as you integrate your “one sermon” with the unique place where God has called you)
Fourth Quarter: Practice
- Word (public reading of Scripture, prayer, preaching publicly and from house to house)
- Sacrament (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper)
- Prayer (cultivating life-long habits of the mind and heart)
Roles in the Fellowship-in-Residence
Senior Teaching Fellow: A paid faculty member selected by the D. James Kennedy Institute who is a subject matter expert in an area of focus in the Kennedy Fellows Program. The Senior Teaching Fellow lectures in a synchronous ELS once per month.
Mentor: An ordained minister in the student’s church or community who agrees to meet with the student for once per month, for twelve months, to read the student’s written account of a ministry experience (the verbatim), listen to the student’s reflections about the experience, offer insights, and offer prayer. The student is encouraged to provide an honorarium by way of paying for a meal or (coffee and dessert at home) each month that they meet. The mentor must sign a Kennedy Institute Statement of Faith and confidentiality statement.
Peer: The peer is an ordained minister who may be three to five years ahead of the student in terms of service to the Church. This minister may be engaged in the same ministry, in the same church, or may be in a different church, or even in a different denomination. The key concern is that the peer is able to provide a peer-to-peer reflection to the student about the monthly subject of the lecture. The peer must sign a Kennedy Institute Statement of Faith and confidentiality statement.
Authority. The local church or ministry authority is a lay representative invested with authority by the congregation (as an elder, deacon, or vestryman). The authority will agree to meet with the student once per month to reflect on the ministry verbatim from the perspective of the congregation.
A graduate of a theological seminary with a Master of Divinity or Master of Arts (at least 72 hours in theology or related discipline) and ordained (or can demonstrate a pathway towards ordination) in a confessional Christian denomination.
The D. James Kennedy Institute is a ministry of Faith for Living, Inc., which espouses the Westminster Confession of Faith with its Larger and Shorter Catechisms as a system of doctrine taught in Holy Scripture, however the Institute welcomes ministers from all historical and evangelical denominations and churches to apply. Our concern for is for a “mere Christianity” (C.S. Lewis) affirmation that allows pastors across the denominational spectrum to work together on the sturdy, common ground of faithful, Biblical, confessional, catholic Christian presuppositions. We, therefore, ask that each applicant be willing to sign a theological affirmation of the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy. Each applicant must also have written approval by the local church’s governing board (session, board of elders, deacons, vestry, council) and senior pastor.
Kennedy Fellows: “A network of mentors” and “A license to learn”
Graduates of the fellowship become Kennedy Fellows, not merely a distinguishing lifelong association, but much more practically, a network of pastor-scholars to mentor future Kennedy Fellows. On a personal level, Kennedy Fellows are strengthened in spirit and in mind for the a lifetime of growth in pastoral ministry. The beneficiaries of such pastoral health may be not only the men, women, boys, and girls one will serve as an ambassador of Jesus Christ, but one’s very own family.
“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight” (Proverbs 4:7).