Introducing a Church Planting Residency Plan and Partnership

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Wheaton College Billy Graham Center and Converge’s latest partnership to raise Christian leaders.

Converge has planted over 752 churches over the past forty years. This past January, at their annual Unleash Conference, they committed to planting another 312 by 2025. And a pandemic and social and political unrest have only emboldened that goal.

Barna’s recent research would suggest that church attendance and connection have dropped sharply over the past five months making it difficult to predict the long-term impact of the pandemic. But what is known for certain is that the trends of attendance and continual societal shiftings are drawing a downward slope.

But we are not satisfied, nor will we give in to any feeling of inevitability with current predictions. And the most certain path forward is through intentional partnerships that bring together strengths for a stronger and faster approach.

A few years ago, Ed Stetzer (Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center) and Lee Stephenson (Executive Director of Church Planting for Converge) began dreaming and discussing an intentional partnership that would bring together the Wheaton College Graduate School’s strength of exceptional theological and leadership training and formation with Converge’s strength of an industry-leading process and pathway for long-term, gospel-centered, community-altering church plants. Operating on the shared values that healthy churches plant healthy churches and multiplicative leadership should be intrinsic with every church leader, a ministry residency was developed that highlights the practical aspects of how to confidently plant a strong, healthy church on the theological underpinning to “(g)o therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19a).

The church needs new leaders. The church needs …

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