The education (information) and training (formation) of pastors and other church workers is at a crossroads. The University model which is predominated in pastoral education and training is not providing the necessary vocational development to navigate increasingly complex congregational and cultural issues facing clergy. The result of this gap has been an increase in pastoral burnout, mistakes made early in one’s ministry, bringing pain to pastoral family life as well as to congregations, and resulting in an ineffective system. In a day of limited resources and pressing needs the church must respond.

The D James Kennedy Institute of reformed leadership under the guidance of Dr. Michael A Milton has proposed a review and research and development that has led to an initiative called “reimagining pastoral education and training.” This initiative involves four distinct phases:

Internship (seminary as both University model and vocational model)

Residency (the first year after seminary begins a one-year supervised experience in 12 essential pastoral competencies; delete word. The residency is delivered through multimodal means, that is, through all

Teaching and learning, on the ground, supervised ministry, theological reflection on the pastoral competency with pastoral supervisor, peers, the pastoral family, and a member of the congregation.


The Fellowship phase of reimagining pastoral education and training happens at approximately postgraduate +5 years. The doctor of ministry program, long used as a credentialing opportunity for pastors, becomes an intentional time of theological reflection of ministry, identification of a particular area of expertise, or a congregational need, that is addressed through multimodal means.

Pastoral lifecycle/lifelong learning

Following the fellowship the minister of the gospel has completed a significant time of both University model education along with apprenticeship model training. The pastoral lifecycle begins in ordinarily longer. Of productivity until the retirement years. During this time numerous issues may be identified. These issues are sought, researched, and offered to clergy of all denominations through many credentialing, as well as multimodal teaching and learning to provide help in the area of vocational or congregational anthology. The pastoral cycle lifelong learning extends past retirement and into the stage of “the keeper of meaning.” The next stage and final stage is reflection. The Kennedy Institute recognizes that the postretirement years for clergy often require unique spiritual, ministry, psychological, and social responses for both the minister and the pastoral family. The Kennedy Institute seeks to develop lifelong learning resources to help during each stage in the pastoral lifecycle.

A Partnership of Erskine Seminary, Faith for Living, and the D. James Kennedy Institute of Reformed Leadership

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