Welcome to the church planting page for Sojourn Network! We're glad you've made it here, and our team is excited to start a conversation with you about what it looks like to plant a church with our network of churches.
Since 2011, dozens of church planters have landed on this page with the hopes of learning more about what it looks like to plant a church with our network. Most have come eager to learn and filled with many questions:
- What is Sojourn Network?
- What is church planting? Why is it important?
- What kind of church planter does Sojourn Network partner with?
- What common beliefs, values, commitments to Sojourn Network church planters hold?
- What does Sojourn Network provide for potential and current church planters?
- Does Sojourn Network provide an "assessment" for its church planters? If so, what is involved in that assessment?
- Does Sojourn Network provide financial assistance to it's church planters? If so, how much? For how long?
- What about after we plant - will ongoing care and coaching be provided?
If these questions resonate with you, then you've come to the right place.
Sojourn Network exists to see healthy pastors planting, growing and multiplying healthy, gospel-centered churches. At the core of that mission is helping a pastor plant a church and, perhaps even more specifically, helping an existing church send out a qualified man to plant a new, multiplying church. To do this well, Sojourn Network works in tandem with a potential church planter and a local sending church. Together, these three entities work through each of the following stages with the ultimate goal of seeing a healthy pastor leading a healthy self-sustaining, self-governing local church.
PHASE 1: EXPLORE
- Prayerfully explores your calling to ministry in general and to church planting in particular
- Learn about ministry and church planting
- Seek counsel from pastors on character, calling, ministry gifts, theology, readiness to plant and more
- Assesses (formally or informally) the planter for qualifications common to all those in ministry (leadership, pastoral care, preaching, mission, hospitality, and character)
- Offers counsel and direction to the planter and family
- Provides local opportunities for the planter to explore and develop their gifts
- Gives regular, honest, and helpful feedback on calling and ministry gifts
- Resources local church pastors to identify potential planters and pastors
- Trains pastors to identify and assess potential planters
PHASE 2 — ASSESSMENT
- Completes the Sojourn Network Church Planter Questionnaire, which includes sections on theology, personal and marital health, preaching, leadership and leadership development, and church planting knowledge and readiness
- The church planter’s wife completes the SN Wife Questionnaire
- Completes the SN Pastoral Affirmation Form on behalf of a planter, affirming his qualifications to plant and their recommendation for the planter to begin the network assessment
- Creates the SN assessment process
- Owns the administration and organization process between the planter, affirming his qualifications to plant and their recommendation for the planter to begin the network assessment the church, and the network
PHASE 3 — ASSESSMENT | (IN PERSON)
- Attends 1-day Assessment Retreat with spouse (if invited after phase 1)
- In Sojourn Network, the local church owns the majority of the assessment process of a church planter for several reasons:
- They know the planter better than network leadership
- They have seen the planter develop in their local church, observing his gifts and character
- ...supplements the local church in their assessment of the church planter by providing questionnaires, an assessment retreat, and an assessment team for reviewing paperwork and determining which planters are both qualified and a good fit for the network.
Phase 4: DEVELOPMENT
- Receives feedback from both phases of assessment (written and in-person)
- Creates Development Plan based on feedback
- Submits plan to Sojourn Network, local pastors, and others who will hold him accountable
- Offers support and accountability on the church planter’s development plan
- Provides local opportunities for ongoing development in areas such as preaching, leadership, pastoral care, evangelism, etc.
- Offers feedback to the church planter from the entire assessment team
- Offers next steps to the planter and his family
Phase 5: JOINING SOJOURN NETWORK
By this phase, most of the hard work is done! Yet, this is an important final phase, as it provides the church with all the necessary steps to become fully involved in the network and connected to all our resources and programs. When this phase works well, both the network and the church work through the following steps over a 2-4 week period of transitioning into the network.
- Completes a website information (form), the annual church commitment (form), and the lead pastor's information (form)
- Reads the member church covenant and the most up-to-date Program Guide
- Connects with existing internal network communication channels - The City, "insider" email list
- Connects with existing programs - coaching cohorts, access to strategists, upcoming network conferences, crisis care, network-specific content
- Receives and processes all forms once they are completed
- Communicates and welcomes new church on various internal and external communication channels
- Helps connect the lead pastor and his team to all existing programs
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the preferred profile of a Sojourn Network church planter?
Sojourn Network is built to plant churches from within existing network churches. Church planters identified, trained, developed and sent from within network churches ensure, in most cases, that a planter is well-known by his church, well-affirmed by church, and a good fit to plant with SN. A church planter who is not in a network church but who has strong relational connection with other network pastors, strong theological connection with our beliefs, and strong chemistry with our values may also enter our assessment
What does the assessment process look like for a church planter and his spouse?
Our assessment process begins, as outlined above, with a strong local church recommendation. Once the network has that, an individual may be invited to begin our formal assessment process which includes a paperwork portion and an in-person assessment day portion. The paperwork portion and the assessment day portion typically take about four (4) months from start to finish. After the assessment day, a church planting candidate will be notified of the assessment team’s decision as well as next steps.
Does Sojourn Network offer funding to its church planters? How much? How long?
Yes. Assessed and approved church planters receive generous multi-year financial support ranging from $1000-$2000 in monthly support over that multi-year period. Q: Does Sojourn Network offer funding to its church planters? How much? How long?
What commitments do Sojourn Network supported church planters make to the network?
Sojourn Network church planters affirm our statement of faith, our mission, vision, and values, commit to attend network events, give 5% of internal tithes back to the network, and commit to a humble posture of learning from other network pastors and leaders.
Once a new network church launches, how does Sojourn Network provide ongoing training and care to the pastors and his team/staff?
From the moment they join the network, planters have full access to all the ongoing care and support channels we offer: coaching cohorts, strategic counsel via strategists and network staff, resources specific to the network, our leader’s summit and lead pastors retreat, crisis care, and our internal communication channels.
What if I’m just exploring church planting - how can I grow and learn more?
Read all you can about church planting, talk to church planters, visit church plants, attend conferences, take classes - these are just starting points for learning more about planting. You can also email any network staff and we’ll point you in the right direction!
Take the Next Step!
If you've made it here and are excited to take the next step, fill out the connect questionnaire below and we will be in touch.