Why Residency?

Doctors leave medical school and go right to practice, right? Wrong. They head out to be mentored! They have their heads filled with incredible information, but need help in applying it. The same goes for pastors. We have great schools preparing awesome students for ministry, but the church has a role in this training process, too. Christ Wesleyan is committed to preparing the next generation of church leadership.

Why Christ Wesleyan?

Christ Wesleyan Church is the perfect place to do your residency! We’re in a rural environment in Central Pennsylvania, yet situated in the middle of everything (three hours from Philadelphia, D.C., New York City, and Pittsburgh). Our leadership team has longevity and experience. Our healthy, mission-focused congregation is the ideal place to begin your ministry.

Meet Our Lead Pastor

“We believe that God has given us a clear mission to be a strong voice to our community–a voice that reaches an inter-generational body of believers with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ and empowers them to make a difference in their world. I believe my message is one of the positive differences we can make in this world as followers of Jesus Christ. I would love to invite you to join us to see God moving and partner with us in making a difference as we serve together.”
– Branden Mestach, Lead Pastor

Residency Leadership

Pastor Mike Sweigard serves as the pastor of Communications, Residency Program, Marriage Ministry, Ministerial Students and is one of our teaching Pastors. Mike has his bachelors from Trevecca Nazarene University in Business Music, and has his Master’s Degree in Children, Youth, and Family from Wesley Seminary. In June 2011, he married his beautiful bride, Jill, and they have three girls. Mike has been part of the pastoral team at CWC since 2014.
“Ephesians 4:11-12 is one of my life verses – I love equipping people for greater service, increased effectiveness, and preparation for the journey with Jesus ahead. I look forward to investing in you as a Resident Pastor.”

Past Residents

“Residency was one of the most important steps I took in my journey of ministry. School gives you a good foundation theologically and biblically, yet residency provides you with the practical steps needed to live it out. It taught me that ministry is never a one-size-fits-all, but a continual learning journey. Residency taught me to be flexible in the way I reach others while remaining steadfast to my faith and the call God has placed on my life.”
– Kyle Roberts, Spiritual Formation & Young Adults Pastor at Christ Wesleyan Church (Milton Campus)

“I have been so thankful for my residency here at Christ Wesleyan Church. Through this experience, I have been continually formed into the type of leader I feel God has been calling me to be, and have been able to really hone in to where and how God wants me to serve for His Kingdom. This has been a place where I’ve felt safe to learn not only how to deal with easy things in ministry, but have also been given the confidence and support to deal with the difficult things as well. And through it all, I have felt an overwhelming encouragement from the congregation and staff to use my gifts and abilities to continue to do the work of the Lord. This experience has affirmed in my heart the importance of young people using a residency as a stepping stone into church leadership.”
– Mia Harrington, Youth Director at Christ Wesleyan Church (Milton Campus)


“Residency at CWC helped me to discover and refine my calling as a church leader. It kept me accountable and challenged me to become better. I would recommend Residency at CWC to anyone looking to grow in their investment of the local church.”
Jared Dimmick, Production Coordinator & Youth Support at Harvest Church


“The Residency Program at Christ Wesleyan has given me a great start into my youth ministry experience. I partnered side by side with great mentors who helped stretch and grow me. The hands-on experience provided what the classroom could not, and so much more.”
Luke Wilson, Youth Pastor at New Hope Wesleyan Church


“Residency taught me the importance of stepping up when needs arise, and the importance of personal growth. I had great mentors and great friends invest in me during my residency experience and I would recommend a residency program to anyone who is planning on going into the ministry.”
– James McLean, Student Ministries Pastor at Christ-Centered Church

Leadership Endorsements


“Residency programs are valuable because the resident is developed through real-time ministry responsibility but in a context that emphasizes learning as well as leading. Experienced ministry leaders invest in them while they, in turn, invest in others through their ministry role.”
– Dr. Wayne Schmidt, General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church


“Residency programs for pastors have proven to increase the confidence, ability, and stability of pastors for the long haul. To be a resident pastor at Christ Wesleyan, with Branden Mestach and staff, increases the benefits exponentially. A rare opportunity.”
– Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent Emeritus of The Wesleyan Church
“Most young pastors are thrown into circumstances for which they’ve never been prepared. The residency program gives an opportunity to experience ministry! Bottom line: this is a great program.”
– Dr. Jim Garlow, Former Senior Pastor of Skyline Church

What does Residency look like?

Your residency experience develops you into a mature leader by focusing on these six elements:

  1. Ministry Experience – The purpose of the residency is to ensure that you have the leadership capacity and know-how to effectively and competently lead as a pastor. In order to do this, you need significant and real-life ministry experience.
  2. Leadership Coaching – Two times per month you and your resident coach will meet one on one for at least 45 minutes to discuss leadership. The purpose of the Leadership Coaching meeting is to ensure that you are growing in leadership competence during the residency.
  3. Personal Development – Personal Development focuses on who you are rather than what you do. Two times per month you and your coach meet one on one for at least 45 minutes for personal development. The purpose of this meeting is to ensure that you are growing both personally and as a Christian during the residency.
  4. Leadership Training Curriculum – The Leadership Training Curriculum is unpacked during a weekly training meeting and gives valuable insight into different types of leadership. The Leadership Training Curriculum covers self-leadership, relational leadership, and organizational leadership.
  5. Church Culture – Being part of a healthy team is contagious. You benefit from being invited into a staff and church culture that is thriving. Within this context, you pick up nuances and attitudes that separate healthy teams from other teams.
  6. Evaluations – The evaluation process provides feedback to you and to your coach and mentor about the residency and your readiness for pastoral ministry. The evaluation process includes weekly resident reports, monthly coach reports, as well as strategic evaluation meetings.


Ready to take the next step for Residency at CWC? Submit an online application to get started.

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