I didn’t plan to work at a church. Ministry kind of chose me, in college. I was actually pursuing my finance and economics degree, but I always had a passion for music. I was creating and producing music in my dorm room when out of nowhere, a long-time family friend asked if I wanted to be part of a creative arts internship at Verve Church in Las Vegas.
I held many informal leadership roles over my 15 years in the medical field. The majority of my time was spent working in pediatric oncology and bone marrow transplants, which involved tons of teaching both children and their parents, along with the coordination of ever-changing treatment plans. I worked with dozens of teammates performing diverse roles.
All my passions, dreams and desires have always pointed directly at ministry. I certainly looked for ways around it, but God simply laid a vision and passion on my heart to be a pastor some way, somehow.
From a very early age I loved to lead, build and create. Whether I was conning my parents into buying something from my “art store” (the bottom bunk of my bed) or leading a group of guys at church, I was always creating and leading. It’s what somehow landed me a job in college working for a rapidly growing church plant, doing everything from creating the student ministry to running the fully mobile setup team …
I chose ministry because I was honestly searching for something more meaningful to do with my life, craving to be part of something bigger. When the opportunity to become a Student Ministry Resident at Rocky Mountain Christian Church came along, I saw it as a happy accident. It made me realize: Why not me? Why not my life?
My dad is an incredible leader and a powerful developer of people, so I’ve got this theory that he’s been developing me since I could talk. He saw potential in me and made sure I was surrounded by excellent leaders, and put in situations where I could learn how to lead. As a church planter’s kid, I stared volunteering in the nursery at age eleven. I served on our production team and eventually joined the worship team.
I’m now entering my second year at Centerburg Church of Christ, and I feel like a whole new door is opening. Different leadership aspects are starting to become more natural to me. I still struggle with confidence in myself, but I’ve seen a lot of growth in this area, too. I’m even becoming more of a people person. How I handle difficulty is helping shape who I am as a leader.
I now serve as an apprentice in young adults ministry and missions at Crosspoint Alliance Church in Lewiston, Idaho. I know I’m very much at the starting line, but I’m confident my leadership experience is equipping me in more ways than I know. So far, it’s been awesome being on staff and I already feel like I’m making a difference.
I tried to walk away from my calling. It was the team at Leadership Pathway that pulled me out of that pain. Sometimes, the call still feels impossible, but God is teaching me that He deals exclusively in impossible matters.
While still in high school, I kept getting opportunities for leadership and activities in my home church. I just kept saying yes, which eventually landed me in the position of being the “go-to” worship leader on Sunday mornings. I was completely in over my head, but there were some great people there challenging and encouraging me to go for it.
It’s going to take a new kind of leader to lead in the local church. And we need them now more than ever before. You don’t have to look intently to notice that our world is changing. As issues continue to get more complicated and divisive, church leaders are faced with new questions and challenges that need to be answered by a new generation.
This is what drives our passion for creating church leaders at Leadership Pathway. What we do is fueled by a passion to see a new generation of leaders prepared for ministry through the local church.
Sometimes “paying it forward” doesn’t take decades. Just ask worship leader Brandon Grant of Eastside Community Church in Richmond, KY. “I was headed to the University of KY to pursue a law degree,” says Brandon, “and then my pastor challenged me to think about ministry.”
People ask all the time where do you find residents? So here's a quick scan of the most recent applicants and where they came from:
Loyola University with a Masters in International Studies College drop-out who has been working a job for the last 3 years Auburn University Grad with a Business degree From within their own church Graduate of a prestigious Small Liberal Arts College
We are always trying to find ways to succinctly say what we care deeply about. We hold six shared values with the churches which we partner with: Coaching, Obligation, Endgame, Filling the Gaps, Best Practices, and Leadership Development.
Leadership Pathway (Lp) is thrilled to partner with Perimeter Church of Atlanta. We are searching for their next worship resident. You can read more about that opportunity here. We thought we’d pick the brain of Leah Sowell, the Director of the Residency program and learn all we could about their journey doing residency at Perimeter.
Discovery Christian Church in Broomfield, Colorado (Denver) is several years into building a residency program. Recently, we *sat down with the Lead Pastor of Discovery, Steve Cuss, to talk about the unique view a senior pastor brings to such an endeavor. Discovery averages about 1,000 people on a typical week and is about fourteen-years-old.
I am a big believer in the next generation. I don’t buy into the negativity that often surrounds millennials in the workplace. Those negative voices aren’t talking the same students that I’m talking to. These young leaders are the not only capable, but they have passion and purpose, and want to see the church impact communities, reach their peers, and change the world.
Leadership Pathway (Lp) matches potential ministry residents with churches that have committed to being a teaching church. We then coach the staff at the church in the best practices of equipping the resident for two years in 24Core Competencies in our coaching manual we’ve called a Guidebook.
Self-Awareness is key when taking your first step in ministry. As you begin to interview for that first residency or full time, role, you'll find that church leaders speak in a variety of "self-awareness languages" - here are three or four.:
Take this opportunity to learn about you in the following ways:
A Christian College senior sat down in my office in February of his last year of undergrad studies in ministry and was perplexed. Like most of the good ones, he’d spent the better part of the last two years on a developmental path of part-time ministry under the guidance of a great youth pastor.
“I don’t know which of these opportunities I should pursue,” he said.
A few years ago I spoke with a young man on the phone. He was trying to figure out his future and what his next step should be in ministry. I listened to his story and experiences and knew that if he would just stick with it eventually he’d get picked up. The thing I kept reminding him was that great churches are always looking for great people. It came true in the Spring of 2016. This young man was hired at Central Christian Church in the Phoenix area.
Lp will soon have two new residents moving into Longmont, Colorado to begin the journey at LifeBridge Church. We wanted to get perspective on what this will be like from Worship Arts Associate, Mel Householder. Mel spent two years in residency and is now full time on staff.
Here are her answers to a dozen questions in her own words...no edits.
Growing up in one of the largest churches in America has its advantages. Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY is a great place, and an even better place to be when God gets hold of your heart for the things of Him.
This is where Dakota Draper was all through high school. “I gotta admit, I have been given a gift,” says Dakota, “how many people get to see hundreds, maybe thousands, of students give their life to Jesus and follow Him?” But that’s exactly what it was like at Southeast.