Alpharetta, Ga. — For three years, the North American Mission Board’s Mark Clifton and Brian Croft of Practical Shepherding have partnered to facilitate the Replant Cohort, a free, 40-week online cohort for pastors.
In three years, the Replant Cohort has supplied 711 pastors with training in church replanting and revitalizing, but it has offered far more than timely information and practical skills. The Replant Cohort has been the soil in which friendship and comradery have blossomed.
“Many guys have described it as a lifeline. Some of them are lonely and think they’re the only one going through what they’re going through. We create a fellowship, and they even discover other pastors in the cohort who are close by,” explained Croft. “It has rejuvenated their life and ministry.”
Church replant and revitalization can be a solitary grind. The day in and day out of tilling the rough soil of wilting churches is wearisome. The need for friendship with other pastors is pivotal.
“I became fast friends with brother pastors from across the country and some close enough to see on a more regular basis. We pray for each other, encourage one another, celebrate with one another and grieve with one another,” said Matt Beard, pastor of Southside Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee. “I’m better for having known these brothers. I wouldn’t know them without the Cohort, and I’m so thankful.”
This interactive cohort consists of a weekly live, online training, reading and podcast assignments, reflective assignments, group discussions, Q&A’s and follow up with the trainers.
“It’s a 40-week cohort, spread out over a year. We want them to have live interaction with me and each other. In my experience, the two things that help a pastor more than anything is connection to someone who knows what they are going through and knowing others are going through the same thing.”
Endless obstacles can bully pastors into feeling pulverized or overwhelmed — even weary of doing good. In that sense, churches aren’t the only thing needing revitalizing — sometimes their leaders need it, too.
The Replant Cohort has proven to be a catalyst, helping to save many churches from permanently closing their doors. It continues to revitalize local bodies of Christ and the pastors who serve them.
The 2022 Replant Cohort is accepting applications. Registration ends September 1. CLICK HERE to view the curriculum and apply.
Shar Walker writes for the North American Mission Board.
Published August 16, 2021