Two-year pastoral residency program at Ward Church

For over 65 years, Ward Church has ministered to the western Detroit suburbs, guiding generations to live and love like Jesus. With locations in Northville and Farmington Hills, Mich., we engage in ongoing ministry and outreach to our neighbors near and far. We strive to embody the Christian ideals of worship and adoration of God, loving others through hands-on service, supporting and nurturing healthy families, and modeling open-handed generosity.

The Thrive Pastoral Residency program welcomes pastoral residents to work alongside the Ward pastoral staff for two years to gain strategic leadership experience and skills. The pastoral resident will work on large-scale ministry and leadership projects as well as daily ministry duties.

This program, which runs August 14, 2023 – Aug 15, 2025, will provide the resident with individualized and customized development opportunities to ensure their preparedness for long-term leadership. Similar to a medical residency, the Thrive Program focuses on the fine-tuning of specialized skills and DNA transfer that promote growth in four areas. We believe that these four growth areas are necessary to thrive as leaders in a 21st century local church context:

  • Character
  • Competency
  • Chemistry, and
  • Calling


The Thrive Program is a pastoral training program that exists to equip future ministry leaders to thrive in their service to the local church. Potential residents are assessed for proven Christlike character, a track record of faithfulness in servant leadership capacities, and the willingness and desire to align with and support the mission and vision of the Ward Church.

  • Education: Bachelor’s degree required
  • Experience: Minimum of 2 years serving inside of a local church or non-profit organization in either a volunteer or professional capacity.
  • Affirmation of Ward Church’s mission, values and belief statements:


Mission + Values

Program Mission Statement: Equipping future ministry leaders to thrive in their service to the local church

Ward Church Mission Statement: Leading generations to live and love like Jesus

Church Values: Thoughtful Theology, Audacious Generosity, Healthy Families, Global Reach, Extra Mile Hospitality

Staff Values: Model What We Teach, Give Ministry Away, Make it Better, and Fight for Each Other

4 Es of the Thrive Program

Though differing according to each individual’s calling, Thrive residents can expect their experience to be structured according to the 4 Es, which include Exploration, Education, Experience, and Exiting with Clarity.

Goal of program: 

  • Exploration (learning self through personal assessments, learning the church through observing the inner workings of an organization, learning the culture through intentional exposure to global/local needs and ministry opportunities)
  • Education (Seminary, preparation for ordination exams, skill training and developing the core competencies needed to thrive as a local church leader)
  • Experience (Serving alongside ministry leaders of Ward Church in an effort to lead generations to live and love like Jesus)
  • Exit with Clarity (Working closely with the leadership team of Ward Church to define reality for next steps post residency)

Application + deadline

Application Deadline: 3/15/23

Program Length: August 14, 2023 – Aug 15, 2025

Apply now:

For more information, contact Pastor Terence Gray, Residency Director at

About Northville + Detroit

The City of Northville is a distinctive community of approximately 6,000 residents located on the western edge of metro Detroit. It is a short drive (about 35 minutes) from downtown Detroit and downtown Ann Arbor. City roads are well laid out with easy access to nearby major freeways, including I-275,  M-14, I-696 and I-96.

The Northville area is known for its rolling hills, attractive green space, small lakes and landmark trees. The city retains a small-town atmosphere with stately Victorian-era architecture in its Historic District and a variety of well-kept homes. The housing mixture includes single-family residences, condominiums, and multi-family complexes.

Many residents can walk to downtown, which features specialty shops, theaters, restaurants and personal services. Parks – big and small – and well-preserved landmarks make this city a destination for tourists, and people who like to walk, bike or jog through scenic areas.

Metro Detroit is known for its automotive heritage, arts, entertainment, popular music, and sports. Southeastern Michigan features a variety of natural landscapes, parks, and beaches. Nearby cities like Royal Oak, Birmingham, Ferndale, Plymouth, Farmington Hills and Ann Arbor, earn their “Cool Cities” designation with beautiful scenery, small-city charm, and chill nightlife.

Head to downtown Detroit for a unique urban experience that highlights the best of Michigan’s art, history and cultural contributions. There’s easy access to Windsor, Canada, just across the Ambassador Bridge in downtown Detroit. Check out the award-winning Detroit Riverwalk boardwalk along the Detroit River. Foodies love downtown’s eclectic restaurant scene with a wide range of cuisine options. Detroit’s People Mover and Qline public transportation make getting around the city safe, easy and fun! Learn more.

About the City of Northville:

Learn more about Ward’s vision for Thrive: