The purpose of a residency is to prepare a future church planter in the context of a local church with someone who has been there and done that.
Naturally, no two church planting residencies are the same. Each residency is inevitably going to be shaped by its local leadership, context and vision. This is important to keep in mind when considering a church planting residency as some will likely be more appropriate and beneficial in preparing you to plant than others.
Below is a short list of residencies currently available in the Southeast:
- Riverside Community Church, Columbia, SC
Columbia at a glance:
- Columbia is the capital of South Carolina, one of three major metro areas in the state
- The city covers a large geographical area and is home to over 700,000 people
- College students abound. There’s the University of SC, Columbia International, a Lutheran college, a women’s college and historical African American colleges all in Columbia
- There is a sizable military population. Fort Jackson lies just outside the city limits
- There’s been a fair amount of church planting activity from other networks and denom’s here over the past several years. However, many of these efforts have since closed their doors
About Riverside Community Church:
- RCC was planted in Fall of 2009
- James Walden serves as the founding and lead pastor of RCC. He also serves as the Acts 29 director for South Carolina
- RCC wants to plant their next church by 2020
- The length of the residency is 12-18 months
- It includes training, a church planting assessment midway, and then customized training based on assessment results the second half
- The ideal candidate would have experience in ministry, some theological education and a clear desire to plant
- RCC’s aim is to plant in the Columbia area, but they are open-handed in exactly where God might lead the planter
- Interested in learning more about this residency? Start here.
2. Doxa Church – Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach at a glance:
- Sometimes referred to as the “Dirty Myrtle” or the “Redneck Riviera,” Myrtle Beach is known by most as a summer vacation hot spot
- Behind the sand and lights, however, is a thriving drug and human trafficking industry
- There are 430,000 people in the Myrtle Beach MSA
- The area is booming with growth.The population grew by 63% from 2000-2010. It’s been the second fastest growing MSA in the country for the last two years, adding 1,100 people per month. It is projected that the population could exceed 600,000 by 2025.
- At least 60% (250,000 people) are not followers of Jesus. Roughly 75% (313,000 people) do not attend a church.
About Doxa Church:
- Doxa was launched in 2012
- Randy Goff serves as the founding and lead pastor
- All Doxa staff are bivocational. This is a key part of their multiplication strategy.
- Doxa has a vision to strategically target Coastal University, a college campus of 10,500 where an estimated 2% are evangelical Christian
- Doxa also has a vision to plant a network of churches up and down the “Grand Strand”
- The ideal candidate will have a clear and settled call to church planting, doctrinal and methodological alignment, and biblically adept, though not necessarily formally educated.
- Interested in learning more about this residency? Start here.
3. Fellowship Church – Knoxville, TN
Knoxville at a Glance:
- Knoxville covers a large geographical area and has a total metro population of roughly 1.2 million people
- The area is home to a number off colleges, including Johnson University, Roane State, Pellissippi State and the University of Tennessee
- There are over 50,000 college students between them
- 39% of the population claims to attend some kind of religious service regularly, though this is almost certainly inflated
- According to the 2010 survey, nearly half of those polled claimed to religious affiliation
About Fellowship Church:
- Fellowship is a church of 4,500 with a vision for multiplying around the Knoxville area
- Rick Dunn serves as the Lead Pastor and Kyle Landis as the Pastor of Church Multiplication
- In recent years Fellowship has planted campuses in north Knoxville and the Pellissippi area. Next year they will plant in Northshore. They are now beginning to pray about planting in areas like Maryville, south Knoxville, and Harden Valley, among others.
- Fellowship schedules assessments 3x a year, typically around September, January and May
- Ideal candidates will be those wired to plant, aligned with Fellowship’s values, and a good fit for their particular model
- Interested in learning more about this residency? Shoot an email to Fellowship’s Pastor of Church Multiplication, Kyle Landis here.
4. Two Rivers Church – Chattanooga, TN
Chattanooga at a glance:
- Chattanooga recently made Barna’s list of “100 Most PostChristian Cities in the America”
About Two Rivers Church:
- Two Rivers Chattanooga was planted in 2014
- Chris Jessen serves 2RC as its founding and lead pastor
5. Live Oaks Community Church – The Villages, FL
The Villages at a glance:
- The Villages is a large and growing active adult retirement community located an hour northwest of Orlando
- Forbes Magazine named The Villages the fastest growing town (under 100,000) in the United States from 2007 to 2010. The population surpassed 100,000 in 2013 and has since grown to over 157,000 people
- 200-250 new homes are sold each month
- For those who insist on suffering for Jesus, The Villages has 540 holes of golf (and counting)
- In fact, most residents primary mode of transportation is by golf cart
- Spiritual demographics?
Live Oaks Community Church:
- Live Oaks was planted in 2012
- Chris Holck serves as its founding and lead pastor
- Live Oaks has a passion for reaching what they call the “Encore Generation,” those who are in their second half of life
- Their motto? “If you’re not dead, you’re not done!”
- Live Oaks has a desire to multiply churches that are committed to reaching those in other retirement communities
- This residency would likely be shorter than others, but can be flexible depending on the planter
- Interested in learning more about this residency? Shoot an email to founding and lead pastor Chris Holck here.
6. Cast Member Church – Disney World, FL
The Disney mission field:
- As one can imagine, the Disney cast member culture is a unique and challenging mission field
- Disney employees roughly 195,000 people. 62,000 of those work at Florida’s Disney World, making it the largest single-site employer in the country
- Cast member life is very transient. The average cast member is at Disney for less than 18 months
- Disney culture itself is years ahead of the general population. (Think post-Christian on steroids)
- The culture is one that is distrusting and at times even antagonistic towards communities of faith
About Cast Member Church:
- Cast Member Church was founded in 2011
- Steven Barr serves CMC as its founding and lead pastor
- As its name implies, Cast Member Church is a community of faith that focuses on reaching, discipling and unleashing Disney staff members as tomorrow’s cultural influencers
- CMC does not gather in one place on the weekends for traditional worship services. It is an expanding network of micro-churches that meet primarily in homes and around dinner tables throughout the week
- CMC has a vision to multiply local networks of micro-churches in other Disney locations in the U.S. and around the world. They are currently praying and laboring to establish local networks in California and Tokyo
- Interested in learning more about this residency? You can shoot an email to pastor Steven Barr here.
7. Manchester Creek Community Church – Rock Hill, SC
Rock Hill at a glance:
- Rock Hill is a part of the larger Charlotte metropolitan area
Manchester Creek Community Church:
- MCCC is an established, multigenerational church with a heart for disciplemaking and multiplication
- In 2016 Marty Schoenleber stepped is MCCC’s new lead pastor
- Marty is a seasoned pastor, church planter and multiplier
- He taught church planting at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and continues to train church planters with Dynamic Church Planting International (DCPI)
- MCCC does not have a formalized residency per se, but is constantly training church planters and sending them out to plant both locally and abroad.
- They are always open to adding another