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As the story goes, Pastor J.D. once told everyone we were going to plant 1,000 churches in a generation. He then walked offstage and asked Mike McDaniel how we were going to make that happen.

Certainly there was prayer and guidance from the Spirit involved, and the whole staff, including Pastor J.D., started working on the dream. But it’s much more fun to tell the hyperbole.

Fast forward a bit and you’d find Mike McDaniel and Bryan Barley in the back hallway of the Summit offices reading Center Church, trying to figure out just how this church planting thing works. Shortly after, we planted Bryan in Denver and Trevor Atwood in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 

And since we had everything figured out after that, we planted three churches simultaneously: Andrew Hopper in Greensboro, North Carolina, Brad O’Brien in Baltimore, and Brandon Shields in Indianapolis. Andrew and Brad were from the Summit, but Brandon wasn’t. This led us to think through how we could train someone outside of our city, someone who was ready to plant a church and shared our DNA of gospel centeredness, balance in ministry, and the desire for multiplication—all from a distance. And from that, our full assessment process was born. 

Around 2015, we realized that in planting these churches (and a few others), we had created a family—a family of churches planted through the same process, all with the same DNA. This was called The Summit Network, and we had big dreams of 1,000 churches in a generation. 

But dreams of mutual support were also on the table. We began asking questions like, “How do we help each other survive and thrive as pastors?” “How can we help each other stay faithful for the long haul?” and “How can we help each other not only grow as a church, but plant others as well?” 

In the coming years, we continued to grow and answer these questions along the way. As our family grew, we planted nine churches in our first six years. In the next six, we planted 41 more (with four of them being international). God was doing something big, and he’s still accomplishing this wild dream before our very eyes. 

Today, we’re known as The Summit Collaborative. We have 59 churches in our family, all united to help each other flourish as we lead and multiply one another. And we’re committed to continue following God’s lead in the years to come. 

Are you ready to join us?


Every year we take church planting couples through a nine-month high investment, high return experience that catalyzes their health and fruitfulness as planters. In addition to raising up internal candidates from within our family of churches, we partner with couples from like-minded churches who share our vision of planting gospel-centered, deep and wide, multiplying churches. Often these are couples who don’t have sending churches or whose sending churches do not yet offer the same kind of training. Residency can be done from The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, another church in our family, or from your sending church.

We are looking for proven pastor-leaders with the gift set to plant a church in a strategic US or global city.


  • Leadership Finishing School – Residency is not an internship. It is a highly intentional leadership experience for experienced pastors who want to make the greatest impact they can make in church planting. You will be poured into by seasoned coaches and mentors who are invested in your success.
  • Church Planting Incubator – We don’t just teach you everything we have learned about church planting. You begin planting (or re-planting) the church while in residency, taking what you learn in your cohort and applying it to your growing church.
  • Gospel Immersion – We believe the gospel changes everything, including how you plant a church. By experiencing gospel-centered culture and having the gospel applied to your life, you’ll be better equipped to plant a gospel movement in your city.
  • Intentional Relationships – your cohort will become like a church planting family, and along the way you’ll have the opportunity to interact with like-minded leaders from our family and others around the country.
  • Financial Support – as a resident you will have the opportunity to be connected to our network of supporting and sending churches.


Residency begins August 1 and ends April 30. We begin considering candidates in October of the prior year and begin making decisions in March.

Inquiry → Assessment → Approval → Residency
To inquire, start the process by filling out our Church Planter Interest Form and someone from our staff will follow up with you.

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