We build and plant gospel-centered churches.
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.
Therefore we are committed to planting churches all over the world. We are also committed to building or re-planting existing churches around the gospel, in order that they may fulfill Jesus’ mission to their community and the world.
For Church Planters
For Existing Churches
Gospel-centered. The gospel changes everything. The gospel is not simply the means by which we are converted – it is also the message by which we are transformed. Only the gospel can change our hearts to truly love and follow God. So we seek to make the gospel, and Jesus himself, the center of all we do. That includes not just what we believe, but how we do ministry – how we build and plant churches. The gospel is the foundation that shapes and drives all of our theology and our practice. (1 John 4:19; John 15:3-5)
Deep and wide. The gospel calls us to care about both depth and width. Churches that prioritize depth but not width make “mature” disciples, but don’t always reach the lost. Churches that prioritize width but not depth “reach” the lost, but often don’t make mature disciples. The Great Commission calls for both. Width without depth doesn’t last. Depth without concern for width is not real depth. So we care deeply about theology and making mature disicples, but we are also driven with a sense of urgency to reach the lost. (Matt 28:18-20)
Missional and attractional. Mission is not just a program of the church. Mission defines the church. This takes two forms. First, the corporate gatherings of the church should themselves be missional, leading believers and unbelievers to encounter Christ. This missional nature of the gathered church makes it attractional. Second, the whole church is to be equipped and sent as missionaries to the city. The church is not an audience but an army. Therefore we equally emphasize the gathering and scattering of the church for mission. (John 20:21; 1 Cor 14:16-23; 1 Pet 2:4-9; John 1:14)
Church-based. The local church is God’s plan for fulfilling the Great Commission. Through the church, God proclaims and demonstrates his love to the world. Not only is God’s strategy for advancing the gospel in the world planting churches, but no institution is given that responsibility more than the local church. Therefore we are not a network which plants churches, but churches planting churches. Our desire is to build and plant multiplying churches. (Matt 28:18-20; Eph 3:8-10)
Reaching the unreached. The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time. We prioritize preaching the gospel where Christ is not known. We focus on planting in strategic cities, because cities are the places of greatest need. When we plant outside major cities, we do so with the purpose of establishing sending centers from which people will be mobilized to take the gospel to the world. (Matt 24:14; Rom 15:20.)
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 future bride Jaime on a mission trip to Southeast Asia (great first date spot) and they were married in 2011; Mike and Jaime 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 are expecting 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 church planting is God’s strategy for fulfilling the Great Commission. It is the most effective strategy for seeing lives and communities transformed by the gospel. We also believe that everything rises and falls on leadership. The number one factor in whether a church plant survives or fails is the preparation of the lead planter. Our Church Planting Residency is designed to prepare planters to plant with their maximum potential.
Residency is a full-time, 9-month position at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham for lead planters. Participants receive a realistic experience of life and ministry in a church planting church while preparing to plant a church in North America. Residents receive assessment, training, and ongoing coaching through the Summit Network while recruiting a team, fundraising, and developing the strategy for the future plant. Upon successful completion of the program, participants will be sent out to plant. We are looking for Biblically qualified men who have demonstrated high-capacity ability in leadership, disciple making, and preaching.
Inquiry → Assessment → Residency → Approval
To inquire, email our team with your interest in the residency and a little bit about yourself.
We strive to partner with faithful churches that already exist in these cities while following the leadership of the Spirit in planting outside of this list. Our vision is to plant in every major college town in North Carolina and in the most influential cities along the I-95 Corridor.
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.
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
Inquiry → Compatibility Assessment → Approval → Coaching
To inquire, complete our interest form and a member of our staff with be in touch with you.
J.D. Greear, Pastor
Bryan Barley, Pastor
Brandon Shields, Pastor
Andrew Hopper, Pastor
Brad O’Brien, Pastor
Ben Tugwell, 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
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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