Church Planting Residency — Building a Brotherhood

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BALTIMORE, Md.Churches plant churches, and the Maryland/Delaware region has plenty of room for more churches. Many BCM/D churches have already trained, equipped, and sent out men within their church who feel called by the Lord to plant and revitalize. Men like Pastor Adam Muhtaseb (Redemption City Church) and Pastor Phil Gifford (Connecting Church) have planted BCM/D churches through Send Network and know the joys and the trials, the balance of labor and rest, and what catalyzes success and mistakes. So, why not gather future church planters together in rooms with pastors who have planted in different contexts, with different experiences, and different decades? This idea led to BCM/D’s 2024 Church Planting Residency, which aims to “…develop Send MD/DE Residents into church planters that embody the 9 Competencies in Send Network’s Church Planter Profile.”

The BCMD Church Planting Residency is for future church planters who have passed Send Network’s “readiness” assessment or are preparing to be assessed. (Photo courtesy of Restoration Church, Baltimore)

The BCMD Church Planting Residency is for future church planters who have passed Send Network’s “readiness” assessment or are preparing to be assessed. The nine competencies assessed in a future planter are The Heart, Relationships, Calling, Theology, Mission, Teaching, The Church, The Nations, and Practical Leadership. The Residency is structured to train men in these specific areas to prepare them for assessment and to prepare them and their families for a healthy, thriving church plant.

Training and Equipping
Muhtaseb is passionate about church planting and packed the residency calendar with many opportunities for these future church planters to connect and learn from the best. He says, “I hope that if somebody around the world wanted to plant a church, they would want to come to Baltimore to get prepped.” He has gathered local and national trainers and experts in their fields to attend residency events this year to spend intentional time with the residents. They will be training, praying with, and “standing should-to-shoulder” with these men who have felt God’s call to plant a church.

The training itself involves wisdom from seasoned church planters, fellowship opportunities and connection between the residents, preparation for the general requirements of a future church plant, and intentional soul care for these future planters. Local and national trainers, like Joel Kurtz, the pastor of The Garden Church, Baltimore; Pastor Tony Merida, pastor of Imago Dei Church; and Send Network Vice President of Planter Development and well-known author and pastor, Thabiti Anyawbile (Anacostia River Church) will be sharing with and pouring into these men.

In February, residents spent a weekend hearing from Send Network Vice President of Mobilization Matt Carter and exploring the topics of relationships and calling, and they spent intentional time on soul care, pouring into each other and praying for one another. Current residents have many more retreat, cohort, and conference opportunities like this one to explore and prepare for their church plant calling.

Adam Muhtaseb addresses potential church planters in preparation for assessment. (Photo courtesy of Restoration Church)

Phil Gifford, the pastor of Connecting Church, Abingdon, who coordinates the training, spoke about his perspective on the Residency so far. He said, “One of the best parts of this Residency is building a sense of brotherhood and cooperation between these churches and their sending churches. No one is planting alone and in isolation.” Muhtaseb went on to say that another goal of the Residency is to decrease the likelihood of burnout in pastors. Through this fellowship, support, and training, they hope to see future planters prepared and equipped for healthy churches that plant more churches.

How God Has Moved
In just two months, God has moved substantially. When asked about what he’s personally experienced so far, Mhutasab said that he has seen existing planters pour into future planters and connect with each other in this region instead of only focusing on their church. He also said that he is excited to see God move within their future training plans, where the residents will create their church member covenant, communicate their planting vision, and deliver their launch-day sermon. He also mentioned that during the February retreat, residents were able to discuss the soul-care question, “If you were to fall from ministry, what would Satan take you out with?” This led to praying over each other and planning future support and accountability.

Overall, Muhtaseb said he hopes to make a pipeline of planters that can be poured into and developed by current pastors as future leaders. When planning for this Residency, he said 2 Timothy 2:2 and Acts 20:28 were foundational in his preparation. He said that he aims to multiply what these men have been trained in within their churches so they can replicate it in unreached places in the Maryland/Delaware region. He would love to see many leaders sent to this Residency after multiple years of development within their own churches.

If you are interested in church planting or the BCMD Residency, please email BCM/D Church Planting Team Leader Jamie Caldwell at [email protected] or Pastor Adam Muhtaseb at [email protected].

Feature photo: The BCMD Church Planting Residency program is for potential church planters in Maryland/Delaware. (Photo courtesy of Redemption City Church) 

Payton Pope is a teacher in the Seaford School District, Delaware, a freelance writer, and the wife of a Church Plant Catalyst with Send Network.