Pastoral Apprenticeship Program



To provide training and development for leaders seeking to move into pastor/elder roles in church ministry.


Those who enter the program must meet the requirements laid out in 1 Timothy 3 for a pastor/elder, meet with J.E Charles the Upper Room Fire Prayer staff, and be accepted into the program.


The pastoral apprentice team would meet for one monthly extended staff meeting for sermon preparation, attend staff meetings every other week, and be involved in normal activities of the church (worship, Life Group, and ongoing meetings).


The pastoral apprentice team will read one book a month and write a reflection paper on that book. The team would discuss that in a meeting the first Saturday of each month.


A large part of the plan for the internship will be to participate in a preaching team. The preaching team will meet at least once a month for planning and then will include ongoing preparation..

First Saturday sermon preparation: 3 hour preaching preparation meeting (required for all in the program).

Monthly preaching: The apprentice would preach at least once a month, generally using the sermon prepared as part of the preaching prep team. (Upper Room Fire Prayer staff would work to arrange these preaching opportunities, but cannot guarantee them. These would be outside of Upper Room Fire Prayer as we already have two teaching pastors.) The sermon preached would be one that the team prepared together.

Sermon review:

The team would review the sermon of the other members of the teaching time.

Sermon evaluation:

The Pastor Apprentice Team would review the sermons from J.E Charles and use those as learning opportunities. J.E Charles would also review one sermon per month and make suggestions for preaching improvement.

Ministry leadership:

Over the course of a year, each of the apprentices will lead in two major and several minor leadership experiences. The “major” projects will be six month emphases (for example, co-lead Life Groups to increase LG attendance to 75% of worship attendance). The minor projects will be assigned by staff. The intent is that that pastor apprentices will experience some of the administrative and leadership work involved in pastoring a church.

Also, all the pastoral apprentices will either be leading or co-leading a Life Group, involved in evangelism and outreach through calls and visits, discipling leaders, and be involved in outreach events.


The intent of this unpaid apprenticeship is that those who participate would then leave Upper Room Fire Prayer to take on pastoral or church planting roles in other churches, either bi-vocationally or vocationally. This apprenticeship should not be seen as a pathway to employment at Upper Room Fire Prayer. This is a time of exploration: some may complete the apprenticeship and determine that they are not called to the office of pastor/elder and, as such, may chose to stay at Upper Room Fire Prayer. Others will be sent out.

Academic credit:

Although this program is a year in length, Upper Room Fire Prayer will also provide the option of earning a seminary degree in a partnership between our church and a seminary (details to be announced). Students will be able to complete a seminary education without relocation from Pleasanton. If you plan to take advantage of this opportunity, you should note that your schooling will take longer than this apprenticeship.

Students at other seminaries or colleges may want to work with their school to get academic credit for the program.

Staff Relationships:

J.E Charles will be program leader. Matt Egberuare will be the staff liaison and overseer for the apprenticeship. All the Upper Room Fire Prayer staff will work with the apprentice team.

If you are interested, email

Current Openings:

The Pastoral Apprenticeship Team will resume in spring 2014. If you are interested in knowing when future openings become available, please email