Often times when we think of ministry training and residency programs, we think of the future executive pastor, the future worship leader, or the future children’s ministry director. But here’s the great thing about God’s Kingdom and the breadth that residency programs can offer—it’s inclusive of all talents, skillsets, and giftings. Here’s the story of Lexi Wegner, Communications Director at Reality Church in LaVista, Nebraksa and how her residency opportunity was a pivotal moment for her life and ministry calling.
Growing up, Lexi never intended on pursuing ministry. The burden of not feeling good enough and the weight of feeling like she had failed God too many times prevented her from seeing the plan He had for her life. But in time, God began to change her heart and mind until she couldn’t be content unless she was actively involved in ministry. “Once I started to pursue ministry and found out where God was calling me, I started to focus in on my skill set when it came to volunteering and taking leadership opportunities. I started using some of my gifts within the realm of communications, graphic design, and photography and that really allowed me to prepare myself for my own ministry journey.”
This is what makes Lexi’s story so unique. She didn’t pursue residency to become a pastor or worship leader, like many assume the goal of residency is to become. Lexi is a natural storyteller and uses her communication, graphic design, and photography talents to do just that. “I love being able to tell people’s stories. That’s what I do. I connect with people and help them share of what God had done in their life in a creative way. I hear the most incredible stories of triumph, recovery and healing. God allows me to do what I love in a way that brings Him glory. I’m able to tell His story, through others.”
As a senior at Nebraska Christian College, Lexi connected with Fountain Springs Church in Rapid City, South Dakota. It didn’t take long for the church to discover how special her storytelling and communication abilities were because in under 2 months she was hired as a full-time, 40hrs/week resident, despite the 20-30 hour resident program model which was the norm. Despite that incredible blessing, it took some time for her to adjust to full-time ministry. “I was never in amongst the thick of it. I hadn’t had a position where if I wasn't there, wasn’t involved, or didn’t speak up that the ministry would be lacking. I was always a support system, rather than being the system.” But as residency programs consistently reveal, the growth happens in the stretching. She learned intentionality with her time balancing school and ministry. She discovered and grew through a season of time when the staff around her became unhealthy. Her mindset changed from, “what can the church do for me?” to, “how can I be the best leader for them?” Lexi used those difficult times and tough ministry moments of apprehension, failure, and stress to learn and grow—instead of allowing them to stunt her ministry trajectory.
In May 2017 Lexi graduated from NCC and left her role at Fountain Springs to accept a position where she currently is at Reality Church as their Communications Director. Although Fountain Springs wanted her to stay full-time, she felt God calling her back to the Omaha area. Now in full-time ministry, she owes a lot to her residency program. “I believe that I am equipped. I have had the most incredible opportunity to live and learn alongside some of the most wonderful people who taught me what it truly means to follow Jesus, and not only that but to show that love to others.” Now more than ever, the girl that once didn’t see ministry as an opportunity for her is incredibly grateful to live the life she lives.
If Lexi had the opportunity to sit down with several senior pastors, this is what she would say: “A [residency program] is necessary and was a pivotal point in my ministry. I was able to grasp the idea of ministry in a whole new way—something that Bible College could only provide a limited view of. Young leaders need the chance to experience the day-to-day, the good and the bad, and yes, even the ugly. This allows us to be fully prepared, confident, and capable church leaders by the time we graduate and ask to work in your church.”
Leadership Pathway (Lp) curates a network of churches, leaders, and training pathways in order to generate a pipeline of world-class church leaders who are highly desired and hirable. For more information on Lp go to http://leadershippathway.org/.