The Residency

Hidden Acres Christian Center (Dayton, IA)

A one-year integrated master’s degree residency program with a church residency option and a camp residency option designed to educate, equip, and empower the next generation of servant leaders for a lifetime of Christian ministry.

About Hidden Acres

Hidden Acres Christian Center is a camp and conference center owned by the Central District of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA). They are one of largest camps in the Midwest with 660 acres of land, housing for over 800, and a dining hall that seats 1,000. They typically host over 20,000 guests annually, they have 30 year-round staff, and hire over 160 students for their summer staff each year.

About The Residency

The Residency at Hidden Acres is a one-year integrated master’s degree residency program designed to educate, equip, and empower the next generation of servant leaders for a lifetime of Christian ministry. Residents receive a personalized ministry placement, either at Hidden Acres or in a local Evangelical Free church that fits their gifts, passions, and future career goals.  It also includes optional placement either in a role at the camp or in a church residency with an affiliated local church in the region.

Q & A with Eric Smith

What was the catalyst for Hidden Acres to create The Residency? What challenges or needs led you to look for a solution like Eleven:6?

Our camp has a Christian GAP year program for undergraduate students and we wanted to expand our higher education ministries to include a residency program for graduate students. One of our desires while designing The Residency was to allow students to earn a master’s degree through our program. We reached out to Eleven:6 after learning about their partnership with another camp that had a similar program to what we hoped to create.

Why did you choose Eleven:6 over alternative partners?

We chose to partner with Eleven:6 because they were able to offer a one-year, accredited master’s degree option with on-site integration. We looked into other options, but none were able to offer everything that Eleven:6 could.

How has the partnership with Eleven:6 impacted your program?

Our partnership with Eleven:6 has allowed us to create a unique ministry residency program that benefits our residents, camp, and district churches. The instructor’s stipend helps offset the cost of the program and allows us to provide scholarships to all our residents.

Eleven:6 has been incredibly helpful and easy to work with throughout the entire process. We were able to launch our ministry residency program in just a few months and have benefited greatly from the addition of residents to our ministry.

What metrics — or key performance indicators — do you use to determine program success?

Our ministry residency program is still relatively new, but we grew it from 2 to 4 residents in the first two years. We also had both our residents in the first year graduate and find full-time positions in ministry.

I would highly recommend a partnership with Eleven:6 if you’re interested in developing a church residency, Christian GAP year program, or ministry internship, to launch next-generation leaders!

Organization Info

Program Lead | Eric Smith
Website |
Location | Dayton, IA (USA)
Launched | August 2021

Program Info

12 months (Aug to Aug)

Degree Options
MA Organizational Leadership
MA Christian Leadership

Yes. Onsite at Hidden Acres.

Work Stipend + Ministry Scholarship*

*Total more than covers the program cost and tuition from either university so students can graduate debt free.

Ryan -- The Residency @ Hidden Acres

“It was a great year of learning, growth, and stretching for me. I think I learned more, grew more and was stretched more these past few months than I have ever been. I enjoyed learning by going through the classes and I loved my placement.”

— Ryan S.