We refer to the men being trained in the Convergence program "apprentices". Traditionally speaking, an apprentice is one who learns a trade by receiving on−the−job training from qualified tradesmen. We use the term apprentice instead of student because our emphasis is on learning by doing and being personally guided through the learning process by those already active in the "trade" of ministry. "Student" carries with it the cultural stigma of one who learns facts in a school setting.
This is the term we use for the group of apprentices who work together as an intentional learning community through the three years of the Convergence program. The men in a cohort meet together for each intensive. Over the course of the three years, the men involved in a cohort get to know each other well, which enhances the learning experience and enables them to develop mutually encouraging relationships. There are usually 15 or less apprentices in each cohort.
Convergence is the process of intentionally bringing together multiple aspects of pastoral training into alignment, so as to increase their combined impact on the men being trained and the local churches they serve. There is a convergence of three interrelated purposes, of a three learning process, and of three levels of participation. In addition, there is an overarching convergence of purpose, process, and participation.
We refer to the three day learning experiences as "intensives". This is because of the intentional concentration of involvement by the apprentices during this time. This is not a time of passive listening to lectures. It is designed to have a high level of interaction on the part of the apprentices.
This is a key person in the Convergence learning process because it is a person who invests in a close relationship with the apprentice in order to provide personal feedback, counsel, accountability, and encouragement. The mentor is someone who knows (or gets to know) the apprentice well, especially in the apprentice's church environment.