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December 17, 2015

A Pipeline for a Leadership Residency Program

By Daniel Im

*Plus Members can watch this entire Behind-The-Scenes interview by logging in and clicking here.

From Pipeline to Pipedreams

If you follow the news or politics you have heard about the Keystone Pipeline, an oil pipeline system that would run from Canada to Texas. While many oppose the pipeline because of environmental issues, many believe this pipeline can lead to the creation of thousands of jobs, lessen U.S. dependency on foreign oil, and create a stronger relationship with Canada. In other words, they believe this pipeline can fulfill, to a certain degree, some pipedreams.

As the church, there’s something to be said about creating pipelines that help fulfill our pipedreams. Realistically and practically, we must create pipelines that can facilitate the fulfillment of many of our dreams and aspirations.

Recently, I conversed with Miles Welch, Pastor of Leadership Expansion at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, GA, about their residency program, which is their leadership development pipeline. In this post, I want to highlight three things he discussed about their pipeline.

What’s Their Pipeline?

Pipelines serve as a conduit of some greater purpose. For churches, pipelines serve as a conduit of fulfilling things such as planting churches, launching campuses, multiplying disciples, seeing a gospel movement among an unreached people group, transforming families and communities, and developing leaders.

12Stone Church has created a residency program that serves as their leadership development pipeline. In this residency, 12Stone is committed to providing hands on experience rather than classroom teaching for pastors and/or future pastors. Developing such leaders is the key to unleashing the potential of what God has called them to do.

One of the ways they develop leaders in their two-year residency is by welcoming them to the program with a project. During this project, Miles and the other pastors at 12Stone monitor how long it takes the residents to complete the project, if they do the project with excellence, and how they handle pressure throughout the project. This initial project offers a great opportunity to witness the strengths and weaknesses of the residents as well as a platform to provide invaluable feedback for their leadership development.

The Wisdom Behind their Pipeline

Pipelines are created with an intentional purpose. In other words, they are created for an intended use. Just as the Keystone Pipeline would be created to run oil from Canada to Texas, residencies should be created to funnel certain kinds of leaders through. Fumbling the intended purpose of the residency yields a missed opportunity to sharpen leaders for potential impact. This also ensures that you choose the right residents!

For those contemplating launching a residency program, Miles advises that it be geared around the strengths of your church. In other words, if your church is known for its preaching, your residency ought to be geared around preaching and teaching. If its known for its involvement in social justice or cultural renewal, it might be patterned likewise. For 12Stone, it is leadership development. Thus their residency program revolves around developing leaders by helping each resident shape his or her giftedness. By understanding who they are and what they want to produce, 12Stone and its leaders know how to create and structure the pipeline.

The Pipedream at the End of Their Pipeline

Successful pipelines can accomplish noteworthy pipedreams and a capable catalyst can generate accomplished aspirations.

For Miles and 12Stone, they have seen some pretty amazing returns from their residency program. Because they started their pipeline way before they needed the return, they were able to launch five campuses this past year! While they didn’t find all their campus pastors and staff from their residency program (pipeline), they did find many from it. As it stands, 12Stone has 18,000 people who attend one of their nine campuses. And their residency and leadership development pipeline has been a huge contributor to 12Stone experiencing such a phenomenal pipedream.

To hear more of the specifics of 12Stone’s residency pipeline, how they launched five campuses in one year, and more advice for beginning residencies and launching campuses, check out the full video here. This video is part of Plus Membership, so to get full access to it, and much more, I encourage you to become a Plus Member. Click here to see all the benefits of becoming a Plus Member.

Tweetables from the Video:

  • Pipelines should flow towards fulfilling pipedreams
  • Fumbling the intended purpose of a residency yields a missed opportunity to sharpen leaders for potential impact
  • Contemplating launching a residency program? Gear it around the strengths of your church
  • Successful pipelines can accomplish noteworthy pipedreams
  • According to Miles Welch, residency programs should provide hands-on experience rather than classroom teaching
  • How did 12Stone Church launch 5 campuses in a year? They started their pipeline way before they needed it!


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Lead Pastor of Beulah Alliance Church, a multiplying multisite church focused on reaching 1% of Edmonton for Christ. His latest book is You Are What You Do: And Six Other Lies about Work, Life, and Love. He is also the author of No Silver Bullets and co-author of Planting Missional Churches. He co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, as well as the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Because of their love for the local church, after pioneering and leading the church multiplication initiative for LifeWay, Daniel and his wife, Christina, moved back to Canada with their three children. For more information, visit danielim.com and follow him on social media @danielsangi.


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