Developing a Leadership Pipelinepodcast

Inside Look at Internships & Residency for Your Church with Sean Badeer & David Ramirez

Welcome back to another episode of the unSeminary podcast. Today is a whole topic of conversation I’ve been really interested in and you’re going to hear from some on the ground experts. I’m talking with Sean Badeer and David Ramirez from LifeBridge Christian Church.

LifeBridge was planted back in 1891 in Longmont, Colorado, just north of Denver. Sean is the Connections Pastor and David is the Guest Services Coordinator. David leads a team of seven people, who in turn lead a team of 250 volunteers. David is a second year resident with LifeBridge and is learning and getting different tastes of ministry during his time at the church. Sean also works with Leadership Pathway to help churches develop residency and grow the next generation of church leaders.

Sen and David are with us today to talk about developing a residency program at your church.

  • Long term approach. // Internships seem to be failing methods for a lot of churches because they aren’t teaching the students everything they need to know, so residency is a more intentional two year path. Internships may be viewed as how to get the most out of a student in the next three months since they won’t be around long and are seen more as just extra hands on deck. By contrast residency is seen more as the long term approach.
  • Lead in all levels. // David has been with LifeBridge for one year now and has learned a lot, even about the corporate side of ministry. He does more than just small tasks around the church and is learning to lead at all sorts of levels, such as teaching in the student ministry or leading the volunteers he meets with every weekend. During his residency, he’s been able to contribute at a high level of ministry through his work around the church.
  • Hand off responsibility. // One way to ensure a residency is successful is to make sure the resident has something real to own, not something you are just letting him be involved in. During the first six months, David was just watching a lot of things to see how they were done. But soon after that, Sean began handing off a lot of responsibility to him. Sean was there to support David when something went wrong and helped make sure that things still moved forward while not taking David out of the game.
  • Intentional coaching. // Another way to make residents successful is intentional coaching. Sean meets with David once a week for about an hour to cover more structured leadership topics, or to just check in to see what’s going through his mind about what he wants to excel in. Sean emphasizes that even though the young people they lead in the residency program may go on to work in other churches, the church can’t afford to not invest in the next generation at this level because we need great young leaders in local churches. An hour a week may be significant commitment, but you can see the value in it if the resident develops into someone who could become a great leader in your own church.
  • Coaching the coaches. // Sean works with Leadership Pathway to coach the coaches on residency and helps them develop a system that works in their church. The best coaching comes from within the church because it’s so contextualized, so Leadership Pathway comes in to help coach the staff on how to develop their residents. Coaching young people can help solve problems with the church and lead the next generation into ministry.

If you are thinking about adding residency at your own church, you can get a toolkit to learn more at  To learn more about LifeBridge Christian Church visit their website.

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Lightning Round

Something You Wish They Taught // Sean: Google Calendar helps me be way more intentional with my time.
David: Rest and having a life outside the church.

Influential Book // Sean: Hero Maker: Five Essential Practices for Leaders to Multiply Leaders by Dave Ferguson

Downloadable Resource //

Contact // LifeBridge’s website

Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Leadership Pathway

Launch a residency program or take your internship to the next level at your church.

Click here for your free toolkit and learn how Leadership Pathway can help.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.