HOW WE FIND
We recruit men who simply meet biblical qualifications for pastors (see 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:5-9). Part of this effort is to remove extra-biblical standards from our qualifications, like academic proficiency, charismatic personality, or dynamic leadership. While God often blesses churches with these gifts, they are not biblical requirements. Making them such can obscure biblically-qualified men and distort our expectations of a pastor's work. Our aim is to find men who believe the gospel, demonstrate that belief by living a life worthy of it, and want to teach and defend that gospel for people whom they love. We prioritize men who already live in a small town, as this implies a longer-term commitment to their community. And we normally connect with these men through local churches and personal recommendations.
HOW WE TRAIN
We adapt pastoral training to the needs of the men within our ministry. Traditional pastoral training often requires students to relocate, take on debt, and study full-time in academia. Our approach aims to fill the gaps of these traditional methods by serving the men who cannot make those commitments. Some men will be working full-time to support their family and their church. Others will learn better from hands-on practice of pastoral ministry rather than abstract lectures and graded tests. We currently offer these men two opportunities. First is an Agros internship. These span from 6-week unpaid commitments to longer opportunities with stipends. Second is an Agros workshop, one-day, 8-hour practicums in a focused area of pastoral ministry. You can review our workshops by going to this page.
HOW WE SUPPORT
We build a network of fellowship and support for small-town pastors in our region. One of the biggest challenges for small-town pastors is loneliness and isolation. No amount of theological training can replace the encouragement of fellow laborers. A diploma cannot get in the trenches next to you as a fellow soldier can. And so, we aim to create contexts for like-minded pastors to strengthen one another for the advance of the gospel. Small-town pastors are invited to Agros workshops to hone ministry skills and biblical knowledge, and to mentor aspiring pastors. We want this to refresh them with the reminder that what they do with God's Word among God's people matters a lot. We also organize an Agros conference every fall, which allows small-town pastors to gather for biblical teaching, singing, encouragement, and prayer. The emphasis of this conference is to bind fellow servants in our region together through personal and biblically rich fellowship.