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D. James Kennedy Institute

D. James Kennedy Institute of Reformed Leadership
Pastoral Residency and Fellows Program

Milton, Michael A.

James H. Ragsdale Professor of Missions and Evangelism, President of the D. James Kennedy Institute for Reformed Leadership at Erskine Theological Seminary
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“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.
Learning System

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.

Learning Style

Reflective – 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, then with a mentor and church authority, and finally, with his wife to discuss the verbatim.

Collaborative – 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.

Experiential – 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:

  • 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)
  • 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)

  • 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)
  • 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).

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