The church was commissioned to make disciples, teaching them to observe all that her Lord Jesus Christ commanded (Matthew 28:19). One thing He has commanded is that his church be led by elders/pastors/overseers (these terms are interchangeable). Raising up, testing, and ordaining elders is the role of the church. Seminaries may aid the church in this by educating the mind, but they must not supplant her sole spiritual authority.
This is why Meridian Church has an elder apprenticeship. We want to raise up elders from within our church and for other churches as well.
While discipleship is lifelong, and should both precede and follow apprenticeship, this is a formal and focused time of training for the specific purpose of raising up elders. Going through the apprenticeship doesn’t qualify one to be an elder, but it is meant to be a part of discipling men who have a desire to shepherd God’s flock toward that goal.
While each apprenticeship is uniquely customized, here are two suggested tracks for the elder apprenticeship. Track one is referred to as an intern-apprenticeship. This is a one year intensive internship. This track works best for: 1. Someone coming to Meridian Church from another church, 2. Those preparing for, or having just completed seminary, 3. Young single men, or married men without children, 4. Those who can work part-time. This is not a paid internship, but housing with utilities may be available.
Track two, simply an apprenticeship, is more flexible.This track works best for men within our body who have families and full-time jobs.
Apprentices will take part in elder meetings, join elders during counseling sessions and pastoral visits, read a number of books and write papers on them, be given teaching opportunities, develop a sermon series and potentially preach it, and be given various other ministry and administrative tasks.
Additionally, if available, they must take the systematic theology core course offered during their time as apprentices.
Application and Requirements
All persons interested in apprenticeship must fill out the apprentice questionnaire.
Intern-apprenticeships applying from outside our fellowship must submit a resume including five references. To be considered for the current year, these must be received by May 1st. The intern-apprenticeship will last for a full year beginning in August.
Apprentices must be or become members of Meridian Church, agreeing with the congregational affirmation of faith and the church covenant. Apprentices coming from outside of Meridian Church will need to go through the membership process as part of their application. They will be presented to the body as apprentices, with membership pending their coming. As members they must be involved in the life of the body by attending the weekly worship gatherings, participating in a life group, and attending all members meetings.
Download a fuller description of the apprenticeship.