Each apprentice is expected to serve a minimum of four hours per week at CBC. Often this minimum is easily exceeded, and particularly busy weeks can match the hours of part-time work. Though the Pastoral Apprenticeship is no small commitment, this significant investment is accompanied by notable benefits and privileges, including a ministry training ground (i.e. the culture of CBC) catered to the growth of ministers and a congregation that encourages men in their pastoral calling. Following are the various obligations and privileges of the apprenticeship. Prospective apprentices will note that the list is long and demanding; this is by design. Our apprentices often juggle full and part-time employment and seminary classes along with the demands of the family. Each man will have to decide for himself how to balance life in the church, office, classroom, and home. And all should note that the elders, and chiefly Pastor Aaron Halvorsen, will keep a close watch over the spiritual health of the apprentices, so as to ensure that each apprentice continually a close intimacy with the Lord and his family, which are his two chief priorities.
1. ATTENDANCE ON SUNDAYS AND PARTICIPATION IN 242 GROUPS
Regular and faithful attendance of Sunday morning service, and participation in 242 Groups, is expected of each apprentice. They are to be actively involved in the life of the body, often leading and directing the congregation in worship and teaching and speaking on Sunday mornings, and are therefore expected to be present whenever the congregation gathers. Work and school schedules should be tailored to meet this need. We understand that occasional absences and vacations are necessary and good, but the pattern of life and desire of the apprentice is to be present and involved whenever the church gathers. Apprentices ought not to consider themselves passive observers at CBC. Rather, they are expected to come with the mindset of a servant leader, looking for opportunities to minister and serve among the body.
2. INVOLVEMENT AT COMMUNITY BIBLE CHURCH
Apprentices are expected to exercise ongoing ministry at CBC in keeping with the needs of the congregation. As visible leaders in the church, they ought to make the various church activities throughout the year a priority. Apprentices should think of themselves as ministers among the congregation, watchful and aware of the people around them, welcoming visitors, encouraging the congregation, and taking the initiative to serve when needed. As men aspiring to the eldership, apprentices ought to act as such, demonstrating strong character and integrity. We anticipate that our apprentices will continue to be exemplary servants of the church in small and large matters, regularly the first in line to volunteer when a task needs to be accomplished.
3. APPRENTICE GROUP MEETINGS
Every other week the apprentices meet with Pastor Aaron Halvorsen for about two hours. Apprentices engage in discussion with Aaron regarding assigned reading, matters of theology, church life, pastoral leadership, and application of the Word of God. The content of the apprentice meetings is outlined in the Apprenticeship Curriculum. During these group meetings apprentices will also pray for and discuss the pastoral care of members of the congregation. A typical bi-weekly group meeting looks as follows:
- Prayer for members of the congregation
- Discuss worship service and sermon (including exegesis, Christocentricity, and application)
- Discuss assigned reading
- Engage in pertinent ministry/theological issues and discussion of assignments
4. MEETINGS WITH PASTOR AARON HALVORSEN
One of the chief responsibilities of the pastor is the personal mentoring and discipleship of our apprentices. They are responsible to schedule (with the Church Administrator) and attend five meetings with Pastor Aaron each trimester. These meetings allow for the apprentice to build a personal relationship with Pastor Aaron and learn from him, and also provide a venue wherein personal matters can be discussed and attended to with wisdom. We believe it imperative that each apprentice receive personal pastoral care.
Apprentices are expected to develop a discipleship relationship with at least one other man in the congregation, scheduling regular meetings. Our Lord discipled individuals who would disciple others as part of His plan to build the church, and we similarly seek to grow the bride of Christ. The benefits of this discipleship mandate are two-fold, providing the apprentice with experience in the ministry of discipleship as well as providing CBC members with personal care from the leadership of the church. Typically this discipleship entails the reading and discussion of Scripture and Christian literature, prayer, and guidance in personal and spiritual growth.
6. WORSHIP SERVICE LEADERSHIP
Apprentices will receive instruction from Pastors Aaron Halvorsen and Russ Friesen pertaining to the leading of worship services, administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper, and officiating at weddings and funerals. All of these public ministries are of vital importance to the church, and each carries its own set of nuances and considerations. Apprentices routinely will be given the opportunity to lead the congregation through the reading of Scripture and liturgy, praise and worship, corporate prayer, and administration of the Lord's Supper. Our aim is to equip every apprentice with skill and confidence in his ability to publicly lead the church in worship.
7. ELDER MEETINGS
Apprentices will be invited to attend and observe at least one elder meeting each trimester. The elders of CBC meet monthly to discuss and pray for matters in the life of the church, and to direct the affairs of the church at the leading of the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ, through the Word and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The observation of elder meetings provides apprentices with a true taste of life as a leader in the church and the difficult decisions that elders must prayerfully make, affording apprentices with an opportunity to formulate ideas as to how to prepare for and carry out an effective elder meeting. Many pastors have found that the first elder meeting they ever attended, they were expected to lead. We intend our apprentices to be more adequately equipped!
8. PASTORAL VISITATION
Apprentices are expected to accompany an elder on pastoral visitation once each trimester. We believe that the elders of CBC must be intimately familiar with our congregation if they are to care for them with wisdom and sensitivity, and regular visitations are crucial in establishing and building the fellowship of our members and pastors. During these meetings, elders become familiar with the spiritual state of church members, gain insight as to how to pray for them and their family, and read Scripture with the members. Apprentices will gain an appreciation for and understanding of this important pastoral work. Elders may also ask apprentices to accompany them on membership interviews or hospital visitations. The ministry that occurs at the side of a hospital bed can be dramatic, redemptive, difficult, and comforting, and, as such, is crucial to pastoral ministry.
The elders have determined to make $100 available to each pastoral apprentice for the purpose of hospitality every trimester. This may include ministry to members, regular attenders, and visitors of CBC. Hospitality is an often overlooked qualification of biblical elders, and these funds are meant to encourage the exercise of this ministry by apprentices and leaders of CBC. Members and visitors at CBC should feel loved and welcomed by our apprentices, and warm hospitality is a means to reach this essential end. Apprentices will keep copies of receipts and submit them to the office for reimbursement of expenses.
10. SEMIANNUAL ELDER REVIEW
Every six months, each apprentice will meet with at least two of CBC’s elders in order to assess the growth, ministry effectiveness, and overall well-being of the pastoral apprentice. This will also allow the apprentice to voice any feedback, praises, concerns, or questions.
11. PLANNING A WORSHIP SERVICE
Apprentices are responsible for planning at least one worship service each trimester, which must be submitted electronically to the CBC office ten days in advance of the assigned Sunday. The apprentice will receive an updated song list, previous Sunday bulletins, and a worship planner skeleton and example that will assist the apprentice in crafting a coherent, reverent, and Gospel-centered worship service. Many young men enter pastoral ministry without any training as to how to construct a worship service, and delegate this crucial task to others who may not have the pastoral sensitivity required to lead a congregation in meaningful worship. We desire that our apprentices are properly equipped to construct a worship service that directs the church to reverently worship our Triune God.
At the discretion of the elders, apprentices will be given the opportunity to preach 30 minute sermons on texts of their choosing during a Sunday morning service. Throughout the entirety of Scripture, the spoken Word of God is the primary delivery method of God's message of salvation in Christ. Preaching, then, is a great emphasis at CBC and a necessary skill to be developed by the aspiring pastor. The opportunity to preach is a great privilege, even more so when coupled with a loving church seeking the growth of young preachers. Apprentices will work closely with the Pastor Aaron Halvorsen as they prayerfully study and prepare to preach, and will meet with him soon after preaching for discussion and evaluation. This cycle of preparation, delivery, and evaluation ensures that the apprentices are given ample opportunity to grow in their ability to faithfully declare the Word of God.
13. EXPLORING CBC
Apprentices are expected to attend Exploring CBC once each year. Exploring CBC is our membership class and serves as an introduction to our church. This class covers the facets of leadership, membership, and the distinctives of CBC. For apprentices, attending Exploring CBC is an opportunity to become familiar with typical questions and concerns of Christians looking to become involved at a new church, as well as a great way to develop relationships with new prospective members of CBC.