Church Planting Cohort

Our Mission

We believe the church is the hope of the world and God’s plan for the redemption of a broken world. We’re passionate about seeing local churches thrive and partnering with those who feel called to start new ones.

The Watermark Church Planting Cohort is an incubator for the next generation of pastors who have a clear and specific intention to church plant. The program is a ten-month immersive experience that combines hands-on ministry experience, biblical and theological training, and personal and spiritual development in preparation for the rigors of church planting.


What does the experience-based training involve?

Ministry experiences aim to prepare each cohort member for the highly varied responsibilities of church planting. Each cohort member will have responsibilities in a specific ministry and receive coaching from an experienced leader. Church planting cohort members will gain practices in leadership, church-wide administration, staff care, preaching, pastoral care, ecclesiology, church planting mechanics, and more.

What is the classroom training?

Church Planting Cohort members will explore ministry models and develop theological foundations in the classroom environment. They’ll also get training from various Watermark staff members in their respective area of expertise.

How will this program develop church planters personally and spiritually?

Nothing determines the health of a church as much as the health of its leader. Church Planting Cohort Members are immersed in a variety of environments designed to build their personal connection with Christ (spiritual maturity), their marriage (if applicable), and their physical health. These areas are considered mission-critical for the church planting road ahead.

Is this program different than the Watermark Institute Fellowship or Residency?

The Watermark Institute consists of three programs: the Residency Program (aimed at 22-24-year-old college graduates discerning a call to ministry), the Fellows Program (aimed at 25-35 year-olds with ministry backgrounds who are looking for additional experience), and the Church Planting Cohort.

Will I be compensated during the Church Planting Cohort?

Church planting cohort members will receive support during the program to ease some of the financial burdens of preparing to church plant, as well as to compensate for their contribution to the mission of Watermark during the program. Specific compensation is discussed with applicants during the application process.

Will Watermark support new churches after the Church Planting Cohort?

The Church Planting Cohort involves not only preparation to church plant but also evaluation of each planter and his plan. Watermark does not guarantee specific support for the planter after completion of the program.

Do I already need to know where I’m going to plant?

Church Planting Cohort members need to enter the program with a clear and confirmed call to church plant, ideally with a target location in mind. Planning to plant in the planter’s native community is preferred but not required.

How does the application process work?

Currently, we are accepting applications for the 2019-2020 Church Planting Cohort. To begin the process, please complete an application.

Click Here to Apply