The Leaders Collective was founded with dual purposes: Develop the right men to plant churches and help the right men continue to lead churches. The Leaders Collective exists to help current pastors and emerging church planters sustain excellence over a lifetime of ministry.

We do this because we believe the local church is God’s chosen vehicle to bring the gospel message to the entire world. It is “through the church the manifold wisdom of God might be made known to the rulers and authorities in heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10). When Jesus told the apostles to take the gospel message to the whole world, they did so by planting and pastoring churches. There isn’t a better, more God-honoring plan.

The Leaders Collective is composed of two cohort groups—one for current pastors and one for emerging church planters.The content for both cohorts is based on the findings from a seven-year study on resilient pastoral ministry. Covenant Seminary, in partnership with Reformed Theological Seminary and Westminster Seminary, received one of those grants from the Lilly Endowment to study how pastors can sustain a fruitful ministry[provide reference point]. They arrived at five characteristics that promote healthy, sustainable ministry. Their findings support Proverbs 4:23: Everything we do, especially in ministry, flows from the core of our being.



Spiritual formation involves the process of both deepening your relationship with Jesus and continuing to become more and more like him.


Self-care involves attending to your social, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual life and setting up patterns that will promote health in all those areas.


Emotional and cultural intelligence involve both self-awareness and an awareness of the context in which you are ministering, so that you can navigate the challenges of both life and ministry well.


Marriage and family involves creating and maintaining healthy and happy relationships with your wife and children.


Leadership and management involve developing the skills necessary to both lead and manage a growing and ever-changing church.


The health of the organization is tied to the health of the leader. Healthy organizations are led by healthy leaders. Here’s the reason: We teach what we know. We reproduce who we are. Healthy pastors can reproduce healthy leaders. Healthy leaders lead healthy churches.

Pastors called to plant or replant a church often find themselves facing an impossible challenge. Armed with little more than a vision and some faith, they attempt start what hasn’t ever been successfully started before: A specific church in a specific area with them as the pastor. The challenge seems bigger than really it is because they often feel like they are facing it alone. A recent University of Virginia study asked people to put on a heavy backpack and estimate the steepness of a hill. Those alone believed the hill to be quite steep. Those with friends found the hill to be less steep; the stronger the friendship, the less steep the hill.

We feel stronger when friends are with us. We feel weaker when we are alone.

As Paul wrote, “For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting fear without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus” (2 Cor. 7:5-6).

Using peer-to-peer community as a foundation, Leaders Collective encourages pastors to engage in self-care. As Paul told the Ephesian elders, pastors are not just to care for the church, but also for themselves: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the Church of God” (Acts 20:28). When it comes to caring for Jesus’ Church, a pastor’s self-care is as important as his congregational care. Yet, the first is often neglected to give attention to the second.

The Lilly Endowment spent $84 million over 10 years to allow 63 Protestant and Catholic organizations to study what practices are necessary for pastors to sustain excellence over a lifetime of ministry. They found the single-most important practice, across every organization, was participation in a structured learning community of peers. These groups not only benefit the pastor, but also his congregation: Pastors in formal peer groups lead congregations that serve the church, reach out to others, and grow at higher rates than churches with pastors that don’t participate in peer groups. This is true for both existing pastors and emerging church planters.


The Leaders Collective is composed of two cohort groups—one for current pastors and one for emerging church planters. The two cohorts are separate in their program work and meeting schedule, but work together for the common goal of planting healthy churches.

Peer cohorts with discipleship at the center plant churches the way apostles did: by and through the local church.

As part of their program work, the lead pastor cohort develops, mentors, coaches, and funds the church planter cohort. Within the individual cohorts, pastors are able to form deep relationships with other men who have shared experience, creating a lifelong network of ministry encouragers.


Current pastors participate in a structured cohort that meets 12 times throughout the year. All gatherings are a combination of teaching and facilitated discussion. Specific, practical assignments or projects may be assigned and discussed as well.

The meetings focus on the five program elements of the Leaders Collective: spiritual formation, self-care, emotional and cultural intelligence, marriage and family, and leadership and management.

If you’re a current pastor and you’re interested in finding out more or participating in the Leaders Collective, contact us.


The church planter cohort helps planters and replanters develop the characteristics and relationships necessary to sustain a healthy, fruitful ministry for the long haul by placing them in a small group of their peers (cohort) for an eleven-month program.

It is a finishing school, so to speak. It assumes its members are gifted pastors and leaders, and requires that they possess a humble-confidence that can only come from an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus and an ever-growing understanding of the gospel. It assumes they could do what God called them to do without the chart, but will benefit from directed reflection on their life, leadership, and ministry.

The cohort serves as a church planter incubator: It allows the pastors to dream about the vision, test out their philosophy of ministry, and experience success, challenges, and failure in a safe environment. It also serves as a church plant accelerator: it allows the pastor to complete much of the work necessary to sustain and scale his church over the first three years of ministry under the direction of experienced church planters and other experts.

If you’re an emerging church planter and you’re interested in finding out more or participating in the Leaders Collective, contact us.

For more detailed information on lead pastor and church planter cohort schedules and participant materials, download the program overview here.