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Training Leaders

Watermark Institute

Where Tomorrow’s Church Leaders Get Their Start

Are you a recent (or soon-to-be) college graduate or college aged with a few years of work experience? Do you have experience leading in ministry, and are strongly considering making that your full-time career? The Watermark Institute Residency is designed for you.

It is a “residency” in the same way that young doctors go through residency; the church is a teaching hospital, and the Residency allows you to learn from and work alongside more experienced church leaders.


The Residency provides much more than just classroom teaching (although it does include that). Residents get to experience living and serving together in a close community that is authentic and fun. The goal is not to simply fill your head with knowledge, but to encourage your heart to fall more in love with Christ and give you a vision of what a healthy local church looks like.

Our day in the life Vlog from the 2022 Class

Applications Closed

Applications have closed for the class of 2024 – 25. Stay tuned for more information.

"The Institute was the greatest thing I have ever done to prepare me for the ministry I am in now! The biblical and theological training I received equipped me to faithfully and correctly handle the word of God, and I fell in love with what God intends to do through the local church."

Brie Odom


While your schedule will change depending on what ministry you serve, a typical week could look like:

Day Schedule
Monday A full day together. Besides Bible classes, Monday sessions include “family time,” which focuses on the heart and life of a Christian leader. During this time, fellows learn about spiritual disciplines and character formation and take time to share and pray for each other. Mondays also include “Director’s Time” which are ministry “how-to” sessions where directors on our staff share practical tips for handling common pastoral and leadership challenges.
Tuesday Take part in staff prayer with all of the Watermark Community Church staff and meet with their specific ministry teams. Attend Ministry Team Meetings and Ministry Hours
Wednesday Possible Ministry Hours
Thursday Possible Ministry Hours
Friday Twice a month, Residents take part in a Theology and Apologetics class, learning how to explain and defend their faith.
Saturday Studying, working or resting
Sunday Possible Ministry Hours

Residents serve with their ministry teams for 10 hours a week. Each Resident has a primary ministry team that they serve with, although there are also opportunities to learn from other teams. You can specialize in any area, from Student Ministry to Pastoral Care to Worship. Besides doing impactful ministry work, Residents also receive coaching and development from others on the team.

Residency FAQ

Check out answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

Who should apply?

The Residency is for recent college graduates or those who are college aged with a few years of experience. It is for those who are already leading in ministry, are strongly considering vocational ministry, and are looking to take the next step in training and experience.

Do Residents receive financial compensation?

Residents are provided with housing (or a housing allowance on a case by case basis). They are encouraged to work part-time to cover other living expenses. We strongly advise you not to apply if you have a considerable amount of student or consumer debt.

What do people do after completing the Residency?

One of the goals of the Institute is to help Residents figure out their best next step. Many go directly into full time ministry, some attend seminary, and others may decide to pursue a different vocation.

Can I work during the Residency?

Outside of class time, studying, and 10 ministry hours each week, Residents can work part-time. We strongly encourage Residents to work no more than 12 hours a week.

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