Introducing our Church Plant Cohort Program

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Sovereign Grace exists to spread the glory of God by planting churches. But how do we plant effective churches? By inspiring, equipping, and caring for church planters well. One of our distinctives as a family of churches is that we don't just care about the end product of a church plant, but care about the church planter and his family from start to finish. 

To serve our church planters, we recently launched the Church Plant Cohort. The Sovereign Grace Church Planter Cohort aims to serve planters in developing the knowledge, skills, and relationships necessary to plant a healthy local church by placing them in a short-term training experience with a small group of other church planters. We want to help each planter launch well and last long for the glory of God.

The cohort program will aim to inspire our church planters, equip them, and care for them. Over the course of the next year, these planters will gather four times in person in Philadelphia for training, then participate in six online training sessions. The topics include things like spiritual formation, the practicals of church planting and administration, the importance of a healthy marriage, and more.

This year we're privileged to have church planters from diverse backgrounds who are working toward planting in very different areas. But all of them have a heart to see the lost saved and their areas transformed with the gospel.

Our Director of Church Planting, Ian McConnell, has carefully designed these weekends and webinars to have maximum impact. Here are some snapshots from the recent cohort to give you an idea of what these men are experiencing:

  • Andy Farmer taught on the importance of biblical and healthy self-awareness, and why we must understand how God has made us in order to be effective in ministry.
  • Ian McConnell taught on spiritual formation and how healthy patterns help sustain us over the long haul.
  • The men spent extended time in prayer together around Psalm 127 & 40 and ministered to one another through spiritual gifts.
  • The cohort gathered for dinner at a historic tavern where the members of the first Continental Congress dreamed of a new country, and Ian shared about the importance of vision in planting.
  • The weekend left time for reflection and prayer for the planters to encapsulate what God has done in their hearts.

Recently, even before the cohort began, one of the church planters named Stephen Bowne, wrote this in a recent blog post: "We are very excited to be a part of a family of churches that takes time to carefully and intentionally equip church planters." That's our hope and our heart. Would you join us in praying for these men and future cohort weekends this year? And pray that God would continue to shape this cohort program into a tool that serves our mission to make disciples and plant churches.

Interested in planting with Sovereign Grace? Get in touch here.


Ricky Alcantar is the Lead Pastor at Cross of Grace Church in El Paso, TX. He loves his wife Jenn, his two boys, and his city. Sometimes he writes. Other times he just thinks about writing and listens to a lot of podcasts instead.