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Training Centers

Our Church Planter Training Centers and accompanying residency programs cultivate healthy churches and church planters through immersive learning with experienced planters, in networks of multiplying churches, and within missional contexts.

Learn with experienced planters in a multiplying church

  • Collaborate as colleagues with experienced church planters and their staff members as they are actively planting new churches.
  • Develop your philosophy of ministry and hone your church planting skills through intentional mentoring, partnership, and practical ministry and planting experience.
  • Engage in urban ministries in the vital missional context and culture of Brooklyn, NY, Charlotte, NC, or the San Francisco Bay Area, CA.

Why a Training Center?

  • Curator of Tools, Experience, and Wisdom: Church planting is a risky endeavor to which God calls his church. It is well known that a significant number of church plants fail within four years. But wise planning and preparation greatly increases the rate of survivability. Developing leaders through intentional training increases the odds of success by more than 250 percent (according to North American Mission Board). Because we want to develop churches and pastors who will fight the good fight, found flourishing congregations, and finish the race, our Training Centers will engage future planters, current planters, and seasoned planters through assessments, online cohorts, resourcing, and onsite intensives.

Why a “Residency” Program?

  • Prepared for Success: While the training centers can provide a broad base of knowledge for a large group of people, the residency programs are designed to be immersive learning opportunities in a collaborative context that will foster a network of support for a longer period of time.
  • Pipeline of Prepared Church Planters: When a “parent, partner, or patron” EPC congregation or church planting network is ready to launch a new church, there needs to be pipeline of well-prepared church planters. Our Residency Program is committed to creating such a pipeline. Establishing a well-flowing pipeline of known and prepared church planters will ensure better stewardship of future resources invested into church plants.

How will I be developed as a resident?

Each participant will be developed in their personal life, pastoral vocation, and planting skills through expansive practical ministry engagement, coaching, pastoral teamwork, study, evaluation, and reflection. Encouragement will be given to the church planter’s marriage and family so that they will be poised to flourish in the work of church planting. Participants will write and work through real life case studies, while being exposed to myriad experiences along the way. Every August, Residents will attend a gathering at one of three training hubs (SF Bay Area, NYC Brooklyn, or Charlotte). This gathering will be an orientation, mid-residency evaluation, or graduation, dependent upon a particular Resident’s current stage in the program.

Personal Life

  • Development of a Rule of Life: Spiritual, Emotional, Relational, and Physical Balance
  • Marriage and Family Health
  • Self-Awareness (Strengths, Struggles, Temperament, Skills, Passions)

Pastoral Vocation

  • Biblical and Theological Reflection
  • Preaching and Teaching
  • Sacramental Worship
  • Counseling and Care
  • Evangelism and Discipleship
  • Developing and Training Leaders
  • Organizational Leadership Development
  • Ecclesiastical Preparation (including Preparation for Ordination if applicable)
  • Denominational Participation

Planting Skills

  • Discernment of Call
  • Entrepreneurial Leadership Development
  • Administrative Skills
  • Vision
  • Missional Contextualization
  • Development of Church Planting Prospectus
  • Financial Development and Fundraising
  • Resources for Launching and Sustaining Healthy Ministries


How long is the Residency Program?

Two years is optimal because it provides ample time for orientation, development, evaluation and placement (the discernment of a call). However, application with a call in hand from a specific congregation, church planting network, or presbytery to a particular place can be approved for a one-year residency depending on the timeline and placement onto the field.

Where does it take place?

The host churches for these three Residencies are Resurrection Brooklyn (NY), Lake Forest Church (NC), and Christ Church, the San Francisco Bay Area (CA). These three sites are strategically located to seed a church planting effort in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church that is not merely regional, but national. What is more, these hubs possess accomplished church planters, successful church planting networks, and other more-established churches that can catalyze the development of each Resident. The cultural milieus of these sites are diverse enough to provide training for church planting in city center, inner city, university center, suburban, and rural contexts.

RESURRECTION BROOKLYN

Resurrection Brooklyn was founded by Matt Brown as part of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church Planting Network in 2004. Since then it has grown to three congregations: Park Slope, Clinton Hill, and Williamsburg. Resurrection Brooklyn has a rich history of internships and residencies under the experienced direction of Matt Brown and Chris Hildebrand. Resurrection’s urban context prepares Residents for serving the affluent and influential, the poor and marginal and everyone in between. Its vision to plant multiple healthy congregations in Brooklyn has two new locations targeted: Sheepshead Bay and Brooklyn Heights. Residents gain ministry experience as they serve a neighborhood congregation and participate in Resurrection’s network, City Seminary and Redeemer City to City conferences and events. Resurrection Brooklyn also hosts a well-developed Assessment for Church Planters. www.resurrectionbrooklyn.org

LAKE FOREST CHURCH

Dr Mike Moses was apprenticed to a church planter for five years before he planted Lake Forest Church in 1998. Lake Forest now worships in three N. Charlotte campuses, with a unique team of four teaching pastors who share sermon preparation and preach live in each community weekly. Mike, who presently leads the Charlotte Residency Program, has coached multiple church planters with various ministry strategies (from Reformed liturgical to hip hop worship styles) for over 13 years. He teaches Church Planting at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Charlotte, serves on the EPC’s Church Multiplication Team, and has led Lake Forest to initiate a 10-year vision to become a church multiplying center. Lake Forest’s vision is to reach Charlotte through planting multiple congregations. One of Lake Forest’s distinctives as a training center is the number of EPC congregations in the Charlotte area for mentoring and contextual experience. www.lakeforest.org

CHRIST CHURCH EAST BAY

Founded by Bart Garrett and Jonathan St Clair in 2006, Christ Church currently has three sites: Berkeley, Oakland, and Lafayette, a daughter church in San Francisco (The Table SF), and a new plant in the works (Oakland Start-Up Church). Its vision is to saturate the East Bay area with healthy neighborhood congregations in partnership with other local churches like Community Presbyterian (EPC) of Danville as well as church planting movements such as Redeemer’s City to City. This saturation of healthy neighborhood congregations includes intentionality around works in ethnically diverse communities in Oakland and other East Bay cities. The Training Center is well resourced to serve participants in their development as effective church planters. Bart is a catalytic leader with a vision to raise up many well-placed church planters. He has been on the staff of Perimeter Church and actively coaches with Redeemer City to City internationally. Jonathan combines a rich understanding of the church and Scripture with competent coaching skills. www.christchurcheastbay.org.

What if I cannot move to one of these training center hubs?

Not everyone will be in a position to move to one of our hubs. If that is the case for you, you may apply to participate as a Fellow, a non-resident of the Training Center. As a Fellow, you will be required to attend two one-week retreats each year, complete reading assignments, participate in a cohort with other Fellows, work with an assigned mentor and advisor, and complete field work projects. We will work with you to develop a learning contract that adapts the Church Planter Fellow Program to your life situation, ministry experience, and ordination.

How do I apply?

Step 1: Submit an Application via this Link [may be a link here]
- Self-Assessment (Profession as a Christian, Theological Convictions, Ordination or Ordination Readiness)
- Description of Ministry Experience
- Sense of Calling (Internal, External, Ministry Outcomes)
- Preferred Residency Site (Bay Area, Brooklyn, Charlotte) or Non-Resident Program

Step 2: Participate in a Skype Phone Interview

Step 3: Provide References
- Spouse, Pastor, Professor, Friend, Mentor

Step 4: Receive Approval

Step 5: Develop a Team of Financial Supporters

This program is a partnership of the EPC, the host church, the Resident, and their sponsoring congregation. The host church and the EPC will contribute a stipend toward the program costs and each Resident will raise the remainder of the program costs. Contact the particular Residency Program you are interested in for specifics.

The program director and staff will provide coaching on communicating vision and developing a team of financial supporters, an important church planting skill.

What happens when I complete the residency & training?

Because we work hard to appropriately vet candidates for our Residency Programs, it is our expectation that most graduates are ready to plant a church either as a Lead Planter or as an Assistant. These church plants will launch all over the country in various ministry contexts, in partnership with existing congregations, church planting networks, or presbyteries. Residents completing the program will receive:

  • An endorsement for church planting from the Evangelical Presbyterian Church
  • Placement, partnership, and a plan for ongoing assistance and counsel
  • An application for church planting funds from the Evangelical Presbyterian Church

How do I get more information?

Contact: Rev Chris Hildebrand, Resurrection Brooklyn
Email: chris@resurrectionbrooklyn.org

Contact: Rev Mike Moses, Lake Forest Church
Email: mmoses@lakeforest.org