We're glad to announce the launch of a church planter residency based primarily with Grace Church Gateshead (GCG). GCG is an independent evangelical church in Gateshead, North East England. We are part of the Acts 29 network globally, the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches nationally, and the North East Gospel Partnership locally.
The goal of this residency is to provide focused training and development for a man (and, if married, his wife and family) who is pursuing a call to plant a church.
The expectation and desire is that, at the end of the residency, the resident will be well equipped and supported either to plant a new church, or revitalise a struggling one. We hope that this will be in the North East, within our networks of the NEGP, FIEC and Acts 29. However, there is no final obligation at the end of the residency to remain within the North East, or any of our networks. The presumed length of the residency is 3 years, with the mutual option to conclude after 6, 12, or 24 months.
The residency will comprise:
1. Growing as a disciple within the context of church life. First and foremost you will be a disciple of Jesus living your everyday life within our Christian community. If you are married and if you are a father, you will invest in nourishing and leading your wife and family within the context of normal life and ministry.
2. Assisting and developing the mission of Grace Church Gateshead. This will include, but is not limited to; helping to lead a community group; leading Sunday gatherings; preaching and teaching; planning evangelistic initiatives, going through our in-house eldership development process, etc. For simplicity, you can think of the role as an assistant pastor role with a clear emphasis on being prepared to leave and plant or revitalise at the end of your residency.
3. Exposure and involvement in other churches and church plants in the North East. GCG will be your primary, ‘home’ church during this residency. However, we will encourage placements with other partner churches in the North East, as well as participation in wider events and conferences so as to expand your exposure to the varied contexts and challenges of church planting.
4. A programme of study. This will include a) formal theological study, which may be enrolment within the Crosslands seminary training programme or participation in the NEGP ministry training course. For those with some previous formal theological training, we will customise a course of further formal theological study; b) Biblical languages study, whether the resident is a beginner or already proficient in Greek and Hebrew and c) a tailored course of study specifically related to pastoral leadership.
5. In the third year of the residency, an increasing amount of your time will be spent preparing to plant. Whilst the process of preparing to plant a church cannot be limited to a year – and may take far longer – we plan that this will occupy a significant portion of the third year.
• This is a less than full time role (3 days per week, plus Sundays). Training time is protected within those hours. Salary is £14,000pa. Thus the prospective resident will be encouraged to pursue part-time / bivocational employment alongside the residency.
Start date: our chief concern is to identify the ‘right man’ for this role at this time. The start date is therefore negotiable, within 2020, depending on your existing circumstances and responsibilities.
Please note that the closing date for applications is February 17th 2020.
Who are we looking for:
• A committed Christian man who meets the criteria of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 in his character and lifestyle. This is an occupational requirement of the role.
• Preferably, but not essentially, you are married. If you are married, you do not need to have a perfect marriage, but one which shows the gospel shape articulated in Ephesians 5. You and your wife need to share in the sense of calling to this role, and in considering together a future in which you might plant and pastor a church.
• We are looking for a man with a demonstrated passion and high regard for the Word of God, who is both theologically (‘what we believe’) and philosophically (‘how we do things and why’) well thought-through. Whilst you do not need to agree with us on everything, it is unlikely that we would appoint someone to this role who is not theologically and philosophically aligned to us. You are strongly advised to familiarise yourself with our doctrinal and philosophical convictions, and those of Acts 29, the FIEC, and the NEGP, as part of your consideration of this role.
• You need a commitment to, and love for, Christ-centred expository preaching from all the Scriptures.
• You do not necessarily need to have a theological degree/been to Bible college. Whatever your prior level of formal theological training, we would hope to provide a context for further development. You do not necessarily need to have held a ‘church worker’ role in the past.
• You need to have a demonstrated track record of love for the local church, with humility and gentleness in your manner.
• You have some experience of both teaching and defending sound doctrine, and doing so in a patient and winsome manner.
• You need to have a sincerity for evangelism, and a readiness to persevere in prayer.
• You need to have a track record of resilience in life, and to be prepared to share with us of how the Lord Jesus has broken and humbled you through suffering and trial. We believe the North East is one of the most wonderful mission fields to labour in, but also one which will require much gospel resilience.
• If you are a man (or family) seriously considering a calling to a church-planting ministry, who has some life experience under his (their) belt and has counted the cost of what gospel ministry really involves for the long-term, and if you are genuinely hungry to see the fame of Jesus increase as your life is poured out, then we want to meet you.