Artizo Residency – Going Deeper

Artizo is committed to church growth. The Artizo Institute Residency Program equips Artizo graduates in a supportive environment at a participating church. ‘Growth’, in this context, is threefold: growth of the graduate as they hone their abilities in leadership, growth of the church in their scriptural role of supporting and encouraging the graduate, and growth of the church in Canada as increasing numbers of well-trained, capable pastors proclaim God’s word.

We spoke to Rev. Ben Roberts, Artizo Director of Training, about his own residency and the three Artizo training aims of developing conviction, character and competence:

Throughout my time in residency at St. John’s Richmond, the seeds of conviction, character, and competency planted within Artizo had an opportunity to grow and flourish.

CONVICTION: In Artizo I learned that the Gospel was both the goal and the foundation of ministry, that my ministry should be Gospel-shaped, both in leading the congregation, and in my own spiritual life. This conviction was cemented for me in residency as something that could steer the ship through squalls and when I felt becalmed.  When I faced the question, “What should I do in this situation I’m facing?” the answer is automatic: “I should look to the Gospel, both as my final aim, and the thing I can rely upon.”

CHARACTER: The formation of Christ in us happens slowly, and by God’s grace, inexorably. It is often the most difficult experiences that form us most deeply. I had some real and difficult pastoral experiences within my apprenticeship that began this work of formation, and with an increase in responsibility and leadership through residency, it continued. Character happens over time, under pressure, by the grace of God at work in our lives – and my time with Artizo provided this from start to finish.

COMPETENCE: The best thing Artizo instilled in me was the belief that I could grow. That I was not fixed by whatever preaching or leadership ability I brought to the table, but through feedback and fellowship, along with practice and intentionality, I could improve in those things. It is not a slow decline from the peak of graduating from seminary, but invitation into lifelong growth in skill and in Christ. Artizo ingrained this belief in my apprenticeship and honed it during residency. I’m constantly asking, “How can I be more clear in my communication? How can I move the Gospel closer to the centre of our programs? How can I grow deeper in Christ, and help others do the same?””

An Artizo apprenticeship is meant to provide real ministry training and opportunity in a low stakes environment. As apprentices walk alongside seasoned mentors and staff members, they are able to experience failure and frustration, and leverage it for personal growth without professional or congregational consequences. As an apprentice moves into a residency, the stakes have become higher. They still walk with a mentor, but have taken on greater weight and responsibility, both professionally and personally. The conviction, character, and competence that they may have tested with their toes are suddenly forced to bear their full weight.

Rev. Sean Love, Rector, St. John’s Richmond Church, was an Artizo Resident at St. John’s Vancouver Church, he then worked as the Interim Artizo Trainer, and then the Interim Pastoral Evangelist at St. John’s Richmond, each for about a year. Sean told us about his own residency experience.

“It was amazing—and terrifying! While being an intern, or apprentice, was part time alongside my Regent studies, each of these ministries were full time, complex, and absorbing. It was invigorating! I had an immediate opportunity to put into practice the new things I had learned as an intern, especially the disciplines of prayer, and studying and teaching the Bible. At the same time there was a big leap in responsibility. I remember feeling in over my head, yet at the same time supported and further equipped by the Holy Spirit, by the St. John’s staff, by David Short (Sean’s Artizo mentor), and by the congregation. I knew beyond doubt that my ‘ministry house’ was being built on the rock of the gospel and the sufficiency of Christ, and that was because of my training in Artizo.

My Residency was real-world, teaching and training and managing real people with real needs and real questions. It was more intense and more concentrated and more engaging than any kind of ministry I had yet experienced. I could see how authentic gospel ministry was transforming people. While being an apprentice opened this window in a limited way, Residency was like shifting from driving in the fast lane into the oncoming lane! Being part of a large Staff team that was working prayerfully and thoughtfully in evangelism, discipleship, worship, and pastoral care helped me to see the church from a broader perspective.”

Many Artizo graduates dream of serving in their own church, or perhaps of planting a church – the need is so great. Residency provides an ideal training ground for this. Sean planted St. John’s Richmond in 2007:

“Under God, my wife and I both had a vision for planting a church, and it turns out that during my Residency this vision had time to brew. So, while I was serving Jesus in the role of a Trainer and Evangelist, he was forming me for another ministry that would integrate the two, and require far more of us than we knew at the time.”

But it didn’t stop with church planting. Once St. John’s Richmond was established, the training cycle quickly began again:

“One of the best things we did as a young church plant was quickly welcome and train our first Apprentice. Residency had both an organic and organized effect on St. John’s Richmond work as a Training environment. Organically it was assumed and obvious over my years in Artizo and at St. John’s Richmond that for the church to thrive, ministry leaders had to be trained – and that meant both quality instruction and quality experience. I was given that gift, and knew beyond doubt that part of the church’s DNA needed to be ministry training in partnership with Artizo. The leadership of St. John’s Richmond was pleased to welcome and help train David McElrea, Dan Hsu, Jeremy Graham, Allan Tan, and Ben Roberts. As a training church we have been so blessed by each of these men and their families; as they have taken on leadership within St. John’s Richmond they have been the aroma of Christ to us.

Over the years, we have taken these Apprentices as a gift from God and become more intentional about their training and equipping. Apprentices who have been through the Residency program are a bit like a sapling, and Residency is a bit like a solid stake: it’s not that Artizo Apprentices have not been supported (they have) but graduates from the Residency program benefit from a multi-year, more full-time, focused partnership with experienced gospel-centered pastors.”

Chris Ley is the Assistant Priest overseeing English Ministries at St. Matthias and St. Luke Church in Vancouver and served his Residency (called a “Seed Curacy” at the time) in that church. Chris comments about the practical aspects of his being called to serve in Canada:

“I found myself in this predicament – feeling called to serve the Lord in Canada; knowing I was theologically Anglican; and yet looking out at our entire nation finding no Anglican church could afford to support my full-time salary. I was discouraged and wondered if I would have to leave the Anglican Network in order to serve God in Canada.

Artizo’s Residency Program provided the funding and networking to ensure I could serve God in the country I loved and felt called-to, while not sacrificing my Anglican convictions. Partnering with St. Matthias and St. Luke Church (SMSL), a smaller multicultural congregation in Vancouver with ministry to both Cantonese and English speakers, Artizo paid a significant portion of my salary for the first two years of my residency. This support gave SMSL time to develop a financial strategy to retain me once my initial contract ended, and has enabled me to now serve for five years in full-time church ministry. Without Artizo’s funding for my first two years through the Residency Program, I would not currently be working in the Anglican Network in Canada.”

The Artizo Residency Program is great for Artizo graduates because it provides them continued mentorship and encouragement as they step into formal ministry, and it’s great for the church because it supplies them with well-trained workers and financial support for growing Gospel ministry.

Smaller churches, like SMSL, can hire full-time, pre-trained pastors, who can “hit the ground running” without having to work multiple jobs to make financial ends meet. Artizo’s financial support enables churches to develop long-term financial strategies to retain pastors once their residency ends.

There are few jobs in Canada for a traditional, biblical Anglican, and even less funding. The Artizo Residency Program is vitally important to secure the propagation of the gospel and the growth of the Anglican Network in Canada. To ensure our future, we must invest in it. The Artizo Residency Program is the best way to retain gifted church leaders nationally that the body of Christ may be built up.


Finally, we asked Sean Love to dream a little:

“My dream for the Residency program is that the Lord Jesus Christ would be exalted in Canada through faithful gospel ministry.

There are two ways this happens: First: longevity. The Apostle Paul says to Timothy, “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:6-7). Paul’s perspective is long term. And ours should be also. We want well-prepared younger ministers who are not allergic to suffering; who will be the aroma of Christ in diverse circumstances; who demonstrate abundant love for Jesus and his people; and who know God’s strength in weakness.

Effective long term ministry must be cruciform, and shaped in the early years. I am thrilled to witness so many men and women in their 20’s who are being formed by God and his church in ways that will stand the test of time. We hope that in 50 years from now Christ’s church will be capably served by Artizo graduates and Residency alumni.

Second, my dream is breadth. The vision of Artizo Residency is that it becomes normal. Just as every doctor does a Residency and every teacher does a Practicum we want Artizo apprentices to have this additional opportunity in a congregation with a training mindset. The only limitations to this are the number of congregations that have a training mindset, and faithful senior ministers who will give time and intentionality to working closely with a Resident.

Of course, one other limitation is funding; each Residency is supported in part by Artizo. But as we faithfully support Artizo Residencies we trust the Lord will provide for even more. Because the longer we can nurture and support graduates from Artizo, the more viable and stronger their ministries will be, and the more the church will thrive in Canada, and beyond.”

Read more about the Artizo Residency program