Resourcing Small Churches webinar set for Nov. 17

Training on Small Church Program geared primarily to presbytery and synod leaders

by Emily Enders Odom | Presbyterian News Service
Cynthia Cushman. (Photo provided)

Cynthia Cushman. (Photo provided)

LOUISVILLE – “Resourcing Small Churches: Implementing the Small Church Residency Program Model in Your Presbytery or Synod,” a free webinar hosted by the Theology, Formation and Evangelism ministry area, will be offered on Thursday, November 17, at 1:00 p.m. (EST).

The presenter for the webinar will be the Rev. Cynthia Cushman, who serves as coordinator for the Small Church Residency Program (SCRP) for the office of Theology and Worship. Hosting the 45-minute webinar and moderating the question-and-answer segment will be the Rev. Jana Blazek, associate editor for the Presbyterian Outlook and the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Call to Worship.

Although the SCRP—a two-year pastoral residency program for first-call pastors to serve small, underserved congregations in rural, small-town, and urban settings—is no longer accepting new applications and is scheduled to conclude at the national level by December 2017, Cushman is continuing to provide guidance and oversight to the two current classes of pastoral residents while also resourcing mid councils who may wish to consider adopting the SCRP model in their respective contexts.

“As we continue to explore what it means to be the church in this day and age, two of the most important things we can do is nurture and strengthen new pastors and help increase the vitality of our small churches,” Cushman said. “SCRP has given us an effective model for carrying out these two tasks. As the program moves to its conclusion, we want to offer assistance to mid councils that seek to implement this model in their own presbyteries and synods.”

Cushman said that the SCRP model is already being recreated in such presbyteries as Heartland Presbytery, especially the program’s highly effective mentor/cluster group element. The SCRP model is valuable because it provides increased support for and builds leadership skills in new pastors, renews and rejuvenates those who mentor the new pastors, and supports and strengthens small churches.

“I would want presbyteries and synods to take a serious look at working together on a program like the SCRP,” said the Rev. Landon Whitsitt, executive and stated clerk for the Synod of Mid-America. “Given the benefit that can be brought to congregations, it is a very reasonable way to use the funds we been asked to steward.”

The webinar will present the basic components of SCRP to mid-council leaders who are interested in adopting this model within their presbyteries and/or synods. The program’s structure provides increased support and leadership development for new pastors serving small churches, as well as help providing the building blocks for a small church interested in revitalization. It is primarily designed for presbytery or synod staff, Committee on Ministry chairs and/or members, those COM chair or members, those working with small churches on redevelopment or revitalization and/or with new pastors in their presbytery or synod.

To register, go to

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