Developing Gospel-Centered Pastors

I had a professor who was a staunch advocate of congregational church government. He was published on the topic and referenced as a national expert. He could show with great exegetical precision why he believed his position was the most biblical.

But he concluded his lecture by writing “God has seen fit to bless churches using (various) forms of government down through history. The key seems to be more the character of those exercising leadership than the framework in which they work.”

If you think about vibrant churches you’ve been a part of you can probably agree with my professor’s statement. Healthy, vibrant churches are usually led by strong, godly pastors. Which means if we want to see a a church planting movement in our time we need to be serious about developing aspiring pastors.


But how? Well we think you see a picture of pastoral development in Jesus’ ministry. Jesus taught his disciples about the Kingdom, sent them out to preach and then helped them process their experience (Luke 9-10). We’ve put that example into words this way: meaningful responsibility + intentional mentorship = maximal pastoral growth.

It sounds simple, but if you ask pastors when they’ve grown most they’llApprentice Logo usually reference a time when they were given a significant job under the guidance of an experienced leader. The problem is it’s difficult for aspiring pastors to find those opportunities. Many internships offer mentorship but not significant responsibility; while most entry-level church staff positions offer responsibility but little intentional mentorship.

We’ve launched the Summit Apprenticeship Program to bring responsibility & mentorship together because we believe investing in future pastors is key to seeing a church planting movement in our age. The 2-year apprenticeship program will combine staff level responsibility at The Summit Church with intentional mentorship & leadership development to build aspiring ministers into gospel-centered pastors. To learn more & apply visit

Josh Miller (@joshmiller0604) is a Church Planting Catalyst with Summit Network and a Church Planting Pastor at The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC.