The Ephesian Fellowship: Training Leaders for the Local Church

  • May 12, 2012

torch1What is the Ephesian Fellowship?

The Ephesian Fellowship is the pastoral/elder training and mentoring ministry of First Baptist Church of Henryville, Indiana. Its mission is to equip men for gospel ministry in and through the local church, men who are called to full-time pastoral ministry, men who are seeking to be trained as lay-elders within a local church, and men who desire to be involved in serving alongside pastors in hands-on ministry to the church. The Ephesian Fellowship exists “to glorify God in all things, by proclaiming the gospel of Christ to all people, so their lives are transformed for all time.” We aim to fulfill this mission through ongoing pastoral fellowship, lay-elder training, mentoring, participation in ministry, and a structured 2-year certificate-track for pastoral apprentices.

Who can be involved in and with the Ephesian Fellowship?

The Ephesian Fellowship is a company and community of men who want to grow together in ongoing participation and training in ministry to and through the local church. It is overseen directly by the called team of pastors from FBC Henryville. Any man may be involved in the Fellowship at one of three levels in three tracks:

A. Ministry and Mentoring Fellowship: The Ephesian Fellowship exists to equip men to serve alongside pastors/elders or deacons in ministry and service in and through the local church.
B. Pastor (Elder ) and Deacon Training: The Ephesian Fellowship exists to train men who desire to be trained in the basics of local church ministry, specifically for the purpose of serving currently (or in the future) as pastors or deacons in some capacity within a local church.
C. Formal Pastoral Apprenticeship: The Ephesian Fellowship also provides a 2-3 year pastoral apprenticeship for men who believe they are specially called to full-time pastoral ministry. This final track contains more requirements, but will be for the specific purpose of pastoral training, includes the possibility of being licensed (and later ordained) to gospel ministry, and concludes with a formal certificate upon the completion of the apprenticeship.

There is also a women’s fellowship for the wives of pastors, deacons, and other participants with the Ephesian Fellowship. The women’s auxiliary seeks to equip the wives of pastors, deacons, and ministerial students to serve alongside their husbands in ministry to the local church, and to serve the church as a whole as women who are equipped for ministry.

What is involved in participating in the Ephesian Fellowship:

Participation in the Ephesian Fellowship (apart from the Pastoral Apprenticeship) involves monthly one-hour meetings, monthly reading of a short book related to a ministry issue or practice and discussing it with the pastors, taking advantage of regular training opportunities like classes, conferences, workshops, and yearly retreats, and being available to serve alongside the pastors (and be mentored by them) in ministry to the local church in a variety of ways like sermon preparation, evangelism, visitation, and working with ministries like our Nursing Home Ministry and Clark County Jail Ministry. Men will be encouraged to be involved with the “nuts and bolts” of local church ministry through weekly ministry opportunities, monthly reading and discussion groups, and regular and yearly training and discipleship events.

Getting Started…

If you’re interested in being a part of the Ephesian Fellowship, make a concerted effort to begin picking up the books that will be read in the coming months, mark your calendars for 5:00 PM on the second Sunday of every month for the meeting, and commit to being involved in the various ministry opportunities that will be available in the coming year.

If you’d like to be a part of the Ephesian Fellowship Residency Program, check out the syllabus below for the apprenticeship and talk with one of the pastors about being a part of this pastoral training program.

What is the Residency Program?

One major aspect of the Ephesian Fellowship, in addition to the ongoing ministry and mentoring for lay elders, deacons, and other men, is the formal certificate/residency track for men who believe they are called to full-time Christian ministry. This track within the EF provides men an opportunity to take part in a 2-3 year formal residency as pastoral apprentices under the leadership of our pastoral team that will provide them with substantial on-the-ground training and experience. As such, the requirements and expectations for this track are considerably more in-depth than for those guys who are not in the certificate track.

The goal of this program is to provide men an intensive period of training in preparation for service in the local church through ministry at FBC Henryville, church-planting, another established church, or through missions.

What are the requirements/expectations for pastoral apprentices?

As we said, the 2-3 year certificate track requires more than the basic fellowship ministry of the larger group. The basic requirements for official pastoral apprentices include:

1. You must attend all regular worship services of FBC Henryville if at all possible.
2. You are expected to attend each monthly meeting of the basic Ephesian Fellowship meeting, which includes reading each monthly book along with the other guys.
3. Apprentices will be expected to put in two hours per week in ministry work with one of the pastors. This is in addition to meetings and/or worship services. It may include assisting with office work, making a visit with a pastor, attending a funeral or a wedding, or accompanying them in some aspect of their weekly ministry.
4. In addition to reading each book, apprentices will be expected to write a very short summary and response (no more than ¾ page double spaced) for each book read monthly. Other participants are encouraged to read the monthly books along with their pastors, but apprentices must read them.
5. Along with the basic readings, apprentices will be expected to read six other books over the course of the year and provide a 2-3 page (double-spaced) summary and response to the book assigned.
6. Every other month (six times a year) apprentices will be assigned a current-issue to consider and prepare a short position paper (2 double spaced pages) on the issue and present it to the pastors and other apprentices.
7. Apprentices will be expected to participate in any weekend workshops that are offered as well as the annual Fall Retreat for the Ephesian Fellowship.
8. While not an absolute requirement, apprentices will be strongly encouraged to take part in either (or both) the Together for the Gospel conference or a 9Marks Weekender conference at some point during their residency.
9. Apprentices will be invited to participate in service reviews, most pastors’ meetings, and sermon preparation sessions as they are able.
10. Apprentices are asked to serve monthly as either an usher, greeter, or nursery worker. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to conduct the formal welcome and announcements for the evening worship services, and may have the opportunity to read the call to worship passage at times prior to our morning worship service.
11. Apprentices will be asked, as much as possible, to participate in at least one other area of outreach ministry monthly such as the Basketball Ministry, the Nursing Home Ministry, or the Jail Ministry.
12. Apprentices will be given the opportunity shortly after beginning their residency to be licensed to ministry by First Baptist Church Henryville. At the conclusion of their residency they will receive a certificate of completion, and with the approval of the pastors may ask the church for a formal ordination if and when they are called to a pastoral office within a local church.

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