To recognize, disciple, and equip the next generation of ministers to send out and serve God’s church.


During D.L. Moody’s open-air evangelistic outreaches along the lakefront of Chicago he met J.B. Stillson, a man at least twice his age who served as a spiritual father. Stillson taught his young disciple how to study the Bible and how to mine its riches in more systematic and contextual ways. Through this relationship Moody began to glean from Scripture, discern a gift of faith, and affirm a calling to the rescue and care of souls. J.B. Stillson has been forgotten by history, and similarly that is our aim: to raise up and disciple leaders who will make disciples and then be forgotten.


The aim of the Stillson Residency is to come alongside men and women with a heart to serve God’s people to help them grow in Christ and discern the Lord’s leading into ministry, as Stillson did for Moody. Through this we believe our church can cultivate future leaders who serve as ministry leaders and church planters in making disciples and multiplying God’s kingdom here at The Moody Church and around the world. 

  • Character: Establishing a godly discipline of Bible study and prayer so that one’s deepening walk with Jesus Christ will nurture an increasing faithfulness in ministry.
  • Conviction: Developing a deeper understanding of the sufficiency of Scripture, the cross of Christ, and the purpose of the Church.
  • Competence: Observing and performing specific ministry duties throughout a broad range of ministry environments.
  • Call: Evaluating the call of God for vocational gospel service through spiritual, ministerial, educational, and personal development.
  • Culture: Developing an understanding of Chicago’s culture and the many sub-cultures within our city and The Moody Church that result from ethnic, generational, and socio-economic diversity.

The Stillson Residency is available for men and women who aspire to or are seeking the Lord regarding possible roles of leadership in vocational ministry, and best suits those who have completed at least their sophomore year of college.

Semesters of Focused Ministry

Residents will be assigned to one Moody Church ministry each semester to focus their time of service. During the first year of residency at least one semester should be spent in a ministry that they have minimal to no prior experience in. Second year residents will be assigned a third ministry to participate in for their fall semester but are allowed to participate in any Moody Church Ministry of their choice in their final semester of residency (pending approval of Pastor/Director over that ministry).



Residents will attend a retreat in late August each year focused on identity, personhood, and heart tending of the minister.


Weekly Meetings

The purpose of the weekly residency meetings is to process ongoing ministry issues, experiences, and content. Each meeting will cover a specific ministry topic or work through a portion of an assigned book. Topics may include: leadership, spiritual growth, maturity, sexuality, relational and emotional health, cultural dynamics, etc.


Monthly Gathering

Once per month residents from both cohorts will gather to hear a speaker from our staff or outside who will help them to grow in their understanding of a specific area of ministry. These monthly gatherings will be open to all who are interested in vocational ministry and not only those who are in the Stillson Residency program, thus serving as a means of blessing the larger body of Christ and helping to advertise this initiative.



Residents will receive a stipend at the end of each semester upon completion and submission of their end of semester report.

  • One year term; late August-early May (2 year maximum)
  • Weekly attendance in Moody Church worship services
  • Approx. 5 hours per week
  • Brief end of semester report (due 2 weeks after each semester ends)
  • Pursuit of godliness (1 Timothy 4:7-9) and maintenance of high character (1 Timothy 3:1-7).
  • Integrity in other commitments (ex. University or Seminary Codes of Conduct)

The Stillson Residency is led by Pastor Bill Bertsche.

Stillson Residency Application

Please Note:

  • Applications for the 2024-25 class of Residents are due by March 1, 2024
  • Interviews will be conducted for 2024-25 applicants in mid-March to early-April.
  • Applicants will receive a final decision by April 31, 2024.

Info/Questions: stillson@moodychurch.org