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We train people to plant churches through local churches.
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.
Our residency isn’t an internship, rather, it is a full-time, salaried, 9-month training position hosted by The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham for lead planters. Qualified applicants will have previously demonstrated high capacity leadership ability as a local church pastor or in an equivalent position in the business world. 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.
Inquiry → Assessment → Approval → Residency
To inquire, complete our interest form and a member of our staff with be in touch with you.
For a list of our current church plants, go to the Church Plants page.
Residency is a 9-month (August – April) training and preparation process for lead church planters. These men are currently building a team and gathering resources to plant a new church in a strategic city in the U.S. To find out more or get involved, click on one of the links below.
John (@JohnGMcGowan) has been on staff with McLean Bible Church in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., for the past ten years. He started as the leader of The Gathering, MBC’s college ministry. Under John’s leadership, The Gathering developed a ministry at American University, Georgetown University, George Mason and The University of Maryland. For the last 2.5 years, he has served as the Teaching Pastor of Frontline, MBC’s young adult ministry. John and Laura have been married for three years and just welcomed their first child, Jack, 6 months ago.
Dante Randolph (@DanteRandolph) is the lead pastor and visionary of Grace Park Church in Durham, NC. A native of Greenville, NC, Dante currently resides in the great metropolis of Mebane, NC, with his wife Schenita Davis Randolph. Married since September 2004, they have two awesome and wonderful children, Joshua Alexander (8) and Kaelyn Alexandria (4). Dante enjoys reading, playing chess, scribbling teaching notes and reminders on small pieces of paper, and traveling with his family.
Give to Dante →
Get Involved →
Ethan (@EthanWelch) and Ashley Welch have been at the Summit Church for the past 6 years where Ethan has served on staff as Multisite Development Pastor, tasked with the responsibility of launching new campuses including the North Raleigh Campus, Cary Campus, Chapel Hill Campus, and the forthcoming Raleigh Campus. A true coastal native, Ethan grew up just south of Wilmington and recently felt the call in 2012 to return and plant a church.
Lawrence (@Lawrence_Yoo) is a native of Florida, went to the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and received his Masters of Divinity at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando. He and his wife, Jina, are expecting their first child in September. Lawrence has ovr a decade of experience in ministry including youth, children’s, young adult, missions, and outreach. He is transitioning to the Summit from an Associate Pastor position in Raleigh. He and his wife hope to plant a church in the Durham area that strives to reflect the Kingdom as is described in Rev 5:9, a diverse church community purchased by the blood of Christ.
We focus on influential cities with growing populations of unreached people. 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.
In February of 2014, Brad O’Brien and the team of Redeemer City Church merged with another church in the city of Baltimore to become Jesus Our Redeemer. Baltimore is a city that has a deep need for the gospel. Within 2 miles of their neighborhood (Riverside), 56% of the homes are led by single moms and 25% live below the poverty line. “We believe that the Gospel changes everything and want to invite you to join us in seeing it transform this great city.”
Brandon Shields, his wife Emily, and their 4 kids moved from West Palm Beach, FL, to Indianapolis to plant Soma Church. Indianapolis is the 12th largest city in America. Over the last decade, Indy has experienced significant economic, cultural and population growth, but only 10-15% claim to be evangelical Christians. Soma Church is growing in the gospel and in numbers as they seek to proclaim the good news to Indianapolis.
Lead planter Andrew Hopper, his family and leadership team have seen God move in powerful ways since planting Mercy Hill Church in Greensboro. Greensboro is a strategic city for the gospel for several reasons. First, it’s a city that needs the gospel. Like many cities in the South a large percentage of people in Greensboro are religiously affiliated…but most are only and exactly that, affiliated with religion but not transformed by the gospel. Second, Greensboro is a strategic city for North Carolina and the South.
Matt Hahn spent time in the pastoral development program of The Summit Network before re-planting Awaken Church in Columbia, S.C. Awaken has a simple goal: to make God’s name great through lives changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. The church has experienced great growth under Matt’s leadership and has recently acquired its first permanent property.
Tony Merida moved his family to Raleigh, NC, to join the faculty of Southeastern Seminary and to plant Imago Dei in North Raleigh. The vision of Imago Dei is simple: to keep the Gospel central in everything. Our partnership with Imago Dei is a part of our vision to reach the Raleigh-Durham Triangle through planting churches.
In July 2011, Trevor Atwood, his wife Keva, and their sons Micah and Isaac, led a team to plant a new church in Murfreesboro, TN. Murfreesboro is home to more than 26,000 college students and is the 12th fastest growing city in America. City Church seeks to reach both the religious and irreligious with the gospel as they live for the good of the city and the glory of God. They are currently meeting together for worship and are seeing God work mightily in their midst.
Planted in 2006 in the heart of Manhattan by Aaron Coe, the Gallery Church is a community of people who exist to “display the Glory of God to the world.” Transitioned to leadership under Freddy Wyatt, Gallery Church continues to advance the gospel in NYC and has planted four granddaughter churches: Gallery Church Baltimore, Maranatha Grace Church, Cornerstone Church at Bay Ridge, and Mustard Seed Church.
Born in the Soviet Union, Jan Vezikov felt called to reach the over 50,000 Russian Americans in Boston, one of the most unreached cities in America. He planted Grace Church in 2009 with a mission to make passionate disciples of Jesus. Jan has also partnered with Mason Bland to help plant City on a Hill.
After serving on staff for several years at The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, Charlie Dunn and his family have been trained and sent out to plant their lives in the city of Boston. Hub Church is planting in the Southie neighborhood of Boston to “glorify God by making Jesus-followers who make Jesus-followers”.
Ben Tugwell, his wife Jes, and son Finn moved to Greenville in 2007 to plant Integrity Church. Integrity seeks to redeem the city by being the church, loving the city and raising up on mission disciples. Integrity has recently helped launch its own church planting network to plant churches across eastern NC.
Redemption Hill exists to bring God glory through cultivating gospel centered, grace driven, and mission minded people, churches, and communities. It’s the prayer of Redemption Hill and pastor Robert Greene that God would use them to cultivate the soul of the city of Richmond.
Restoration Church exists to transform the Triangle by producing authentic followers of Christ who love God and live the gospel in their community and world. Lead pastor Trea Brinson is leading Restoration Church to engage the 900,000 residents of R-DU who have no church home.
Summit Church was born out of the vision of lead pastor, Bryan Barley, to plant a church in the heart of an influential city with a desperate need for the gospel. Summit strives to be a gospel-centered community on mission to the city of Denver.
Veritas Church exists for the fame of Jesus. Veritas was born out of John’s vision to get back to Fayetteville to plant a church in a growing and influential city that desperately needs the gospel. John lived in Fayetteville while he was stationed at Ft. Bragg (the largest military installation in the world) and desires to plant a multiplying church that will be a faithful representation of the demographics of Fayetteville & Ft. Bragg and, Lord-willing, plant churches in military contexts across the globe.
Vision Church was planted in 2007 by Jerome Gay out of a vision to see an urban reformation in the city of Raleigh. It began with one question: What does Southeast Raleigh look like redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ? The mission of Vision Church is to fulfill God’s vision of making disciple-making disciples.
Metro began as a vision that God placed within founding pastor Josh Shank and his wife Aimee in seminary. It grew to a small group of friends who met in their apartment. Planted in 2004, they have since become a community with a vision to grow in their love for God and the people around them. Andrew Chamberlain currently serves as the teaching pastor of Youngstown Metro Church.
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.
Our vision is to plant 1000 churches in our generation.
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.)
Find out more about Our Strategy.
For answers to this and more questions, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.
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 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 Partner page.
What is the doctrinal statement for the Summit Network?
A description of our doctrinal convictions can be found on the What We Believe 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.
Churches planting multiplying churches. We are not a network which plants churches, but churches planting churches. By partnering together to identify, train, send, and support leaders to build and plant churches, our goal is to see 1000 churches planted in our generation.
Within the network, churches will carry different parts of the load.
Join us in the vision to plant 1000 churches. There are several ways that your church can participate:
Inquiry → Compatibility Assessment → Coaching → Approval
To inquire, complete our partner interest form and someone from our staff will follow up 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
Invest in the mission to plant 1000 churches. Your contributions will go directly to supporting a Summit Network plant.
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
2335-114 Presidential Dr
Durham, NC 27703