Church Planting & Multiplication

Informing spiritual passions by…
Forming mentored learning communities, thereby…
Transforming ministers and ministries for a lifetime.

First Residency Dates: June 8-18, 2020
Residency Locations: Off Campus  & Charlotte Campus
Primary Faculty Mentors: Dr. David Currie, Dr. Tom Herrick

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For the servants of Christ to keep pace by planting new churches in ways that will respond to the complexities of our times, they must be more theologically and culturally informed. Church planters need to be spiritual entrepreneurs, yet they also need to be far more: prayerful spiritual leaders, discerning cultural critics, and relevant Biblical preachers and teachers.

This track will help provide the training that existing and prospective church planters & church planting movement leaders need to birth healthy new congregations, culturally transforming and faithful to historic evangelicalism, capable of sustaining themselves beyond the first service and reproducing themselves far into the future.

Engaging this field from coast to coast, planned guest presenters at  sites across this journey include: Dr. Kevin Ford, Director of Leighton Ford Ministries, and Dr. Stan Wood during residency one; Todd Wilson, the CEO of the Exponential Network, and Dr. Jim Osterhaus during residency two, and Larry Walkemeyer and Alan Hirsch in residency three.


As a Doctor of Ministry student, you attend three two-week intensive residencies (seminars), one each year for three years. Following each of the first two residencies, you complete a project related to the residency topic. After the third residency, you complete a major thesis-project under the guidance of the directing faculty.

The residencies consist of lectures, case studies, participant reports and individual consultations. The classroom sessions are collegial in style and stress learning within a community context.
In preparation for each residency, you read between 2,000 and 3,000 pages of assigned and collateral reading. Sample reading for the first residency includes:

  • Addison, Steve. Movements that Change the World. Missional Press, 2009.
  • Church Planting Manual. Redeemer Church Planting Center, 1359 Broadway 4th Floor, NY, NY 10018.
  • Cole, Neil. Search and Rescue: Becoming a Disciple Who Makes a Difference. Baker, 2008.
  • Hirsch, Alan and Darryn Artclass. Forgotten Ways Handbook: A Practical Guide for Developing Missional Churches. Baker Academic & Brazos Press, 2009.
  • Olson, David T. The American Church in Crisis: Groundbreaking Research Based on a National Database of Over 2000 Churches. Zondervan, 2008.
  • Stetzer, Ed., Richie Stanley, and Jason Hayes. Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them. B&H Books, 2009.

To order these books through Christian Book Distributors, go to our online bookstore:

GCTS Bookstore


Through this track, students will be prepared to plant new churches & oversee other church planters by being equipped in:

The Person of the Church Planter or Overseer:

  • Evaluate the suitability (evidence and utilization of needed talents and skills) and readiness (personal and familial) of potential church planters (including themselves.)
  • Identify the spiritual disciplines needed for health and growth and how they can be developed
  • Provide for the holistic care of church planters by understanding the dynamics of distraction, imbalance, and burnout and by developing strategies to prevent these potentially negative elements.
  • Understand the place and role of coaching and mentoring in ministry development
  • Articulate a plan for ministry accountability and growth
  • Articulate a theology of leadership undergirding the roles of clergy and lay planters
  • Understand the theology of discipleship involved in church planting
  • Understand the leadership dynamics involved in creating a team ministry
  • Create an individual development plan to prepare for the planting of a new church

The Development of a New Faith Community:

  • Understand the phases of development for a new church
  • Develop a theology for working with culture that is both critical and relevant
  • nterpret demographic data to understand the ethnic/cultural/religious context of potential church planting sites
  • Develop a church planting strategy suitable to the gifts and callings of the church planting team and to the context of the particular sites, from conception to reproduction
  • Recruit, train and deploy an effective church planting team
  • Provide for the care of the new congregation through the first 5 years by creating healthy patterns for growth, development and transition, including eventual transition from the church planter to different leadership, possible development of multi-campus/site model, and ongoing patterns of evangelism, discipleship and leadership

Participation in a Church Planting Movement:

  • Understand the theology and history of church planting through the exploration of biblical models, historical movements and current global trends
  • Understand the dynamic interrelationship between cultural exegesis, apologetics, ecclesiology and mission
  • Analyze the effectiveness of a variety of principles and practices utilized in church planting both historically and in the present day
  • Evaluate the suitability of a variety of church planting strategies and develop regional and/or national church planting strategies
  • Explore special issues such as cross/multi-cultural church planting, church planting versus redevelopment, regional/denominational differences

Degree Goals

Here is how your studies will transform you and your ministry by seeking to fulfill our general Doctor of Ministry goals in some track-specific ways:

  • To resource students through a biblically-grounded educational program taught by faculty who are committed to God’s Word and the application of principles of Scripture to the issues of contemporary culture.
    • Students will be able to articulate a biblical framework for understanding God’s development of his church in the Old and New Testaments as the community of God’s people through whom he works to redeem his world.
    • Students will be able to trace several biblical models of church planting in the history of the church within which God has worked for the advance of his kingdom.
  • To form in students a sound foundation of theological and biblical inquiry in their professional doctoral program’s specialized track that they are able to integrate into the life of Christian ministry.
    • Students will be able to develop adequate tools for evaluating the biblical and theological assumptions undergirding various church planting and church growth methodologies.
    • Students will be able to discern the general principles that are normally at work in the birth, growth, and life cycle of churches and to formulate a biblical and theological understanding of healthy churches.
  • To provide students with the skill set and understandings in a specialized area of ministry to such an extent that they can impact their congregation or community more powerfully for God.
    • Students will be able to grow in awareness of the contemporary literature in church planting and growth, and in the role of churches in the multiplication of new churches.
    • Students will be able to develop competence in assessing the environment and needs of the local congregation for more effective gospel witness in the larger community.
  • To create through the cohort model of the program a dimension of Christian community and spiritual nurturing so that students form strong friendships with one another and enter long-term relationships with the scholars who guide the learning experience.
    • Students will be able to recognize that Christian ministry flows out of the character of believers and through their shared experiences together will want to grow in the knowledge of our life in Christ and to learn more of the beauty of His holiness.
    • Students will be able to grow in their zeal for the glory of God as the motivation for evangelism and church planting and growth through shared worship together and shared witness together.
    • Students will be able to develop an appreciation of the responsibility of the minister to be a peer support for fellow ministers by becoming a contributor to fellow students’ formation for ministry efforts.
  • To develop in students a deeper understanding of Christ’s lordship in all areas of life for the common good of the contemporary world.
    • Students will be able to analyze the sociological and religious factors involved in church planting in the United States and in selected areas abroad.
    • Students will be able to articulate their own understanding of the implications of the gospel for the living out of personal and corporate righteousness and social justice.
  • To cultivate within students through critical reflection and careful research through the residencies and projects an enriched Christian witness in the places of society they are called to serve.
    • Students will be able to critique his/her ministry in light of biblical and theological perspectives on church planting and growth.
    • Students will be able to apply principles of church planting and growth to his/her own ministry setting.
    • Students will be able to implement and evaluate specific church planting and growth strategies within a local congregation.
  • To instill in students a refreshed view of their ministry as it relates to the proclamation of the Gospel among all people.
    • Students will be able to articulate a vision for gospel proclamation through the local church to the larger community of the state, the nation, and the world.
    • Students will be able to discern principles of church planting and growth that have played a key role in the spread of the gospel around the world.
    • Students will be able to explore dynamics of cross-cultural church planting and growth through cross-cultural site visits.

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