Plant 1000 churches in our generation… Jesus commissioned his disciples to take the gospel to the world. They did so by planting churches. This wasn’t by chance – it was God’s plan, and his plan hasn’t changed. God’s strategy for fulfilling the Great Commission is planting churches. By planting (& replanting) churches around the world we will see the gospel advance beyond our wildest dreams.
By training leaders. Just like then, God uses called and competent men to lead his church. Our goal is to play a part in developing and equipping those kind of leaders. Through training, coaching, support, and funding, we aim to equip pastors to steward their gifts to plant healthy, thriving churches.
Gospel. The gospel changes everything. The gospel is not simply the means by which we are converted – it is the message by which we are transformed. So we seek to make the gospel, and Jesus himself, the center of all we do. The gospel is the foundation that shapes and drives our theology and our practice. (1 John 4:19; John 15:3-5)
Balance. The greatest truths are often found in tension. We are all prone to create false dichotomies, to think in terms of “either-or.” But what the Bible often calls us to is “both-and.” We believe depth and width, evangelism in word and deed, and missional and attractional ministry, are not opposites to choose from but tensions to embrace. (John 20:21; 1 Cor 14:16-23; 1 Pet 2:4-9; John 1:14)
Multiplication. The Great Commission is accomplished through multiplication. Jesus chose to change the world by preaching to many while investing more in a few. By multiplying disciples, leaders, and churches, we’ll see the gospel advance beyond our wildest dreams. So we’re committed to planting churches that will plant churches in strategic cities and among unreached peoples around the world. (Matt 28:18-20; Matt 25:14-30; Rom 15:20; 2 Tim 2:2)
For Church Planters
For Existing Churches
2 New Church Planting Residents
Summit Network is training two new planters for 2015: Spence Shelton (Charlotte, NC); and Chase Gardner (Asheville, NC).
Residents can now be hosted at various network churches and participate in bi-monthly training in Raleigh-Durham, NC.
Church Planting Workshops
Summit Network is now hosting bi-annual workshops designed to equip churches to start or continue planting churches.
* 2012/13 High: 4,500; 2013/14 High: 6,218
** Restoration City Church (Washington DC); Grace Park Church (Durham, NC); The Bridge Church (Wilmington, NC); Waypoint Church (Durham, NC)
Mike has served for the last 5 years as the Church Planting Pastor at The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. During that time, the Summit has planted 13 churches in the U.S. and launched the Summit Network. Mike received his M.S. from the University of Texas in Biology (really using that degree) and spent time as a missionary in Taiwan before earning his Masters of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, MA. Mike met his wife Jamie on a mission trip to Southeast Asia (great first date spot) and they were married in 2011; Mike and Jai]mie have one daughter named Madelyn.
Mike directs the vision and strategy of Summit Network, and serves as the primary instructor of the Church Planting Residency.
Josh serves on the Church Planting staff at The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC, and has been part of the Summit Network since its launch in 2013. Josh received his B.A. from Hampden-Sydney College double-majoring in Religion and History. After graduation, Josh spent 2 years on the coaching staff of the Hampden-Sydney College football team before relocating to RDU to pursue his Master’s of Divinity Degree at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Josh met his wife Meredith in Farmville, VA (yes, it’s a real place) while they both served as volunteer leaders in a high school ministry. Josh and Meredith were married in 2011 and welcomed their first child (James) in November of 2013.
Josh carries out most of the day-to-day operations of Summit Network, including overseeing the assessment of prospective planters.
What makes the Summit Network different from other networks?
Check out our distinctives on the About page. Also see below for why we decided to start a network in the first place.
How do I become a Summit Network planter?
All the information you need is found on the Plant page.
How do we become a Summit Network partner?
You can find everything you need on the Join page.
What is the doctrinal statement for the Summit Network?
A description of our doctrinal convictions can be found on the About page.
There are so many networks already out there. Why start another one?
We’ve found that the multiplication of local churches is most effective when they share a common DNA. Broader networks specialize in being able to take on larger initiatives. But within those broad networks, we need tight networks of churches that can partner together more closely for the sake of multiplication. Assessment, training, and coaching are often more effective in these networks because of their shared identity.
The Summit Network exists to be a tight network. We are not trying to replace the important roles that broader networks play. All of our churches participate in broader networks. Rather, we are a group of churches that work closely together around a common identity and vision.
Why call it the Summit Network?
First, we felt like naming ourselves the Summit Network was consistent with the DNA of the kind of churches we want to build and plant. We considered several other names, but none was as simple as just calling ourselves the Summit Network. Second, the Summit Church in RDU will serve as the primary, initial hub for the network. Third, there is actually more than one church in the network named the Summit.
We believe God’s strategy for fulfilling the Great Commission is planting churches. Church planting is the most effective strategy for seeing lives and communities transformed by the gospel. We also believe that almost everything rises and falls on leadership. Our Church Planting Residency is designed to prepare planters to best steward their gifts to have their maximum impact through church planting.
Residency is a full-time, 8-month training experience at a Summit Network church. We view residency as one-part finishing school, one-part church planting incubator. From the beginning, God has called competent leaders to build his church – leaders who hear from God, who inspire and empower others, leaders who are known not only by their character but also by their effectiveness. Our residency is designed to invest in those kind of leaders to help them succeed.
Residents begin with the dream of planting. Over 8-months, we share with them everything we’ve learned about planting a healthy, thriving church. We help them develop their vision, build a strong team, raise the resources they need to plant, and hit the ground running. We help them discover what kind of church God has called them to plant in their city, and how to make that dream a reality.
Typically, we take 4-5 residents a year. Together, they receive training and coaching from seasoned pastors and planters. Our churches help them recruit, sending not only financial resources but people. At the completion of the program, a resident and his team are sent out to plant a new Summit Network church.
Residency begins September 1st and ends April 31st. We begin considering candidates in October of the prior year and begin making decisions in February.
Inquiry → Assessment → Approval → Residency
To inquire, fill out our Church Planter Interest Form and someone from our staff will follow up with you.
Whether you’re planting for the first time or want to better equip those you plant, you’re invited to join us for a Church Planting Workshop. Workshops are day-long equipping sessions hosted at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Participants receive an in-depth look at the philosophy and strategy of planting gospel-centered churches with the goal of starting or improving their own church-planting programs. Workshops will address questions like:
A few years ago we were a church that wanted to plant but wasn’t sure how to do it. So we gleaned from other churches and started trying things. Over the years we’ve definitely had some hiccups but God has graciously given us the privilege of sending out two hundred and thirty-eight people to plant twenty-three churches in North America.
Summit Network is the result of those church plants. We’re a partnership of churches (some we’ve planted and others we haven’t) that share one vision and three distinctives. Our vision is to plant 1,000 churches in our generation while each network church is committed to Gospel-Centrality, Philosophical Balance and Church Multiplication. If your church would benefit from a workshop we’d love to connect with you. Information regarding dates, cost and registration is below.
Named among Good Morning America’s 10 Most Beautiful Places in the U.S., Asheville has become the cultural center of the Blue Ridge Mountains. As its nationally recognized economy continues to grow, more and more people are calling Asheville home. But as Asheville’s influence has grown, the influence of Christ in Asheville has dramatically declined. Known regionally as a center of new age belief and alternative lifestyles, Asheville has a great need for Gospel light.
Located at 3,000 feet above sea level it’s hard to imagine Boone reaching new heights. But as the town attracts national attention for its growing university, its bluegrass culture, and its breathtaking landscape, Boone is doing just that. Over the last decade, Appalachian State University has expanded while retirees from across the U.S. have flocked to Boone, making the town one of the fastest growing in America, but since 2000 there has been a 4% decline in Evangelical Christians; “The Heart of the High-Country” needs to be reborn.
Known by many as the New York City of the South, Charlotte is the second largest financial center in the U.S. As Charlotte has grown economically it has also grown in population, ranking as the 5th fastest growing city in the country. Though traditionally known as a “Bible Belt” city, an influx of international business and the rapid secularization of Charlotte are quickly creating a great need for gospel-centered churches. It is estimated that there are over 1 million people in the Charlotte area with no clear understanding of the Gospel.
Cullowhee Region, NC
Home to more than 9,500 university students, the Cullowhee Region of NC is dramatically nestled between the Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Known for its breath taking landscape and the ever expanding Western Carolina University, the Cullowhee Region has seen a 21% growth in population over the last decade. As the region continues to attract thousands of college students from all over the world there is a great need for vibrant gospel-centered churches.
With a widely recognized downtown scene, a low cost of living, and a University ranked in the nation’s top 25, Winston-Salem is becoming the destination of choice for young professionals, relocating retirees, and top notch students alike. As the “Twin-Cities” grow in influence there is a great need for the gospel to grow in influence as well; there are nearly 500, 000 residents in the Winston-Salem area that don’t know Jesus as Lord.
Want a Summit Network church in your city?
Email us and we’ll keep you up to date.
Home to the world’s busiest airport, scores of Fortune 500 companies, and more than five million people, Atlanta’s influence has never been greater. Since hosting the ‘96 Summer Olympics the “Capital of the New South” has seen a huge influx of national and international residents who are drawn to Atlanta’s growing economy, its thirty colleges and universities, and its charming urban lifestyle. Atlanta’s explosive growth and burgeoning influence make the planting of gospel-centered churches essential; it is estimated that there are more than 3.5 million people in the Atlanta area who do not know Christ as Lord.
Known for its world-class beaches and up-tempo night life, Miami has become a magnate for sports icons, retirees, and international immigrants alike. Dubbed the “Capital of Latin America,” and with 59% of its population born outside of the U.S., Miami is a city full of diversity. As the nations flow into Miami there is a great need for gospel-centered and multi-ethnic churches; it is estimated that more than 4.5 million Miami residents do not know the love of Christ.
New York City, NY
As the most populated and globally-connected city in the United States, there’s no place like the Big Apple. As the nation’s financial, commercial, and cultural capital it’s difficult to fully express the national and global influence that New York exerts. With nearly eight-hundred different languages spoken by New York City residents, the nations have come to NYC. But “The City that Never Sleeps” needs a gospel-awakening—only four out of every one-hundred New Yorkers know the love of Christ. Simply put, New York City is one of the most strategic and least reached cities in the World.
Famous for cheese steaks, fine art, and top-notch education, Philadelphia is a beautiful city with a rich cultural history. Home to numerous national monuments and more public art than any other city in the U.S., Philly is a culture lover’s dream. In the eyes of the world Philadelphia is booming, but spiritually, Philadelphia is dying—only six out of every one-hundred Philadelphians consider themselves evangelical Christians. Ironically, most of those living in the “City of Brotherly Love” don’t know the love of Jesus Christ.
San Francisco, CA
Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge leads into one of the most beautiful, creative, and influential cities in the U.S. Known for its rich culture of art and music, artists and young professional are flocking to San Fran. “The City by the Bay” is the second most densely populated city in the US and yet its proximity to Silicon Valley, the world’s center of technological innovation, and its robust economy continues to draw new residents from all over the world. Known internationally as a center of alternative lifestyles and liberal activism, San Francisco needs gospel-centered churches. Only 4% of San Francisco residents know Christ as Lord.
Known for its winter sports, beautiful landscape, and rich history, New Hampshire draws residents from all over the U.S. (and Canada!). Though at one time a bastion of Evangelicalism (Jonathan Edwards & The Great Awakenings) the Northeast is now the least churched region of the U.S. In New Hampshire, the harvest is great but the workers are few. The “Live Free or Die” state needs people willing to give their lives for the advancement of the Gospel.
New York, NY
We want to help like-minded churches grow and plant churches. We’re not a network that plants churches, but churches planting churches. At the same time, there are advantages that come when a group of like-minded churches that share a similar DNA and theological vision partner together. By offering shared assessment, training, coaching, and funding, we can help local churches identify, develop and send church planters.
Inquiry → Compatibility Assessment → Approval → Coaching
To inquire, tell us a little bit about your church by completing our partner interest form and someone from our staff will follow up with you.
J.D. Greear, Pastor
Bryan Barley, Pastor
Brandon Shields, Pastor
Dante Randolph, Pastor
Andrew Hopper, Pastor
Brad O’Brien, Pastor
Ben Tugwell, Pastor
Trea Brinson, Pastor
Trevor Atwood, Pastor
Matt Hahn, Pastor
John Murphy, Pastor
Mark Hallock, Pastor
Dan Freng, Pastor
John McGowan, Pastor
Ethan Welch, Pastor
Lawrence Yoo, Pastor
Chase (@chasegardner) has served as the Pastor of Adult Learning at Hope Community Church in Raleigh-Durham NC for the last 5 years. He and his wife Jenny have two daughters, Rory (5) and Reese (4), and are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. The Gardners recently felt God’s call to plant a church in Asheville, NC and are excited to play a part in expanding God’s Kingdom in Western, NC.
Spence (@spenceshelton) and his wife Courtney came to The Summit Church 12 years ago as college students. For the last 9 years, Spence has overseen the Summit’s small groups ministry expand from 6 groups to over 350. The Sheltons have 4 children (Zeke, Ben, Ellie, and Haddie) and are excited to plant their family and a gospel centered church family, in Charlotte, NC.
Invest in the mission to plant 1000 churches.
Your contributions will go to equipping future Summit Network planters.
To donate online, use our online giving form. Enter the amount you would like to contribute under Other and under Explain, enter “Summit Network.” You may also setup recurring donations via this form.
To contribute by check, make your check payable to “The Summit Church” with “Summit Network” in the memo line, and send it to us at:
The Summit Church
Attn: Summit Network
2335-114 Presidential Dr
Durham, NC 27703
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