Church Planting Initiative Residency Program

The CPI Residency Program is designed to envision, train, equip, shepherd, and build community for pastors called to plant a healthy church in the Western New York area. This two-year process is designed to help them play their part in God’s greater work in the region in partnership with the broader Body of Christ. During the first year of the program, residents participate in a nine-month segment of classroom and geographical experiences. Each month there is a specific focus helping each planter build not only their mission, vision, and values; but also a strategic plan to see God’s mission expand through their specific targeted geography. During this portion of the program, we look deeply at being geographically intentional, the nature and purpose of leadership, measurable values of discipleship, meaningful partnership and more. Additionally, there is a robust soul care piece to encourage and prepare the heart of each planting pastor for the journey ahead. 

The second year of the residency is focused on enriching, deepening, and expanding a culture for church planting in our region. This includes networking, ongoing coaching, and connection to others who have fruitfully planted in the WNY region. During this time, intentional relationships are built so that church planters can walk together, with some being further into the process having the opportunity to help others who are not as far along. The goal is to cultivate a true church planting culture across our region where no church or planter feels isolated from others who have (or are currently) walking the same journey. This year is about establishing mutual learning communities so that each ministry can grow in the shared missional outcomes highlighted in the nine-month residency. 

How to Apply for the Residency Program
Pastors who have discerned God’s call to plant a church in WNY are invited to consider the Residency Program. The application period is typically open during the first quarter of the year. Application forms and instructions will be available online during this window of opportunity. Prior to submitting an application, pastors should review the overall schedule, meet eligibility requirements, and be willing to adhere to resident guidelines and expectations.  

Unfortunately, not all applicants can be accepted to participate in the program. Several factors are prayerfully considered with each opportunity presented including but not limited to geography, mission, vision, lostness of the proposed area, and aptitude/capability of the applicant.

Church planters desiring to apply outside of the open application period are encouraged to provide the CPI Directional Team with a proposal for their church plant. This assists the Directional Team with planning, however, please keep in mind that this does not secure participation for a church planter in an upcoming CPI cohort.

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Residency Scholarship Support
Through the generosity of the Church of WNY, there is no cost to apply for CPI’s Residency Program and applicants accepted into the program receive a full scholarship. Scholarships include all required reading books, materials, classroom sessions, mentoring, Soul Care, and local church experiences. All group meals are also provided. Stipends for residents are available and determined on an individual basis. (Stipends will not exceed $1,000/month for nine months and are contingent upon a resident’s church planting history.) In addition, church planting grants are determined and presented at graduation. In light of the significant investment of “time, talent, and treasure” into each Resident, those participating in the program must come with a recommendation from an active Church of WNY pastor and commit to the two-year course.  

Residency Schedule Overview
Open application period during the first quarter of the year.

Year One
March/April: Application Review Process and Candidate Interviews 
June: Candidate Selections Announced 
June-August: Informal connections and community building gathering
September-May: Nine-Month Training Program and Graduation of Candidates in May
Monthly Modules
  • Planting with Purpose
  • Understanding Your Geography
  • Reaching Your Geography
  • Empowering God’s People
  • Measuring Effectiveness
  • Church Leadership
  • Being Laterally Postured
  • Relating to Other Churches
  • Being Globally Intentional

Year Two
June - April: Ongoing coaching and culture building through triads/pods.

Monthly Training
Residents meet each Tuesday morning during the nine-month training for a unique learning experience. The monthly overview is as follows: 
Week 1 | Teaching:  This classroom experience piece is designed to teach and equip residents on the module for that month. Residents may receive assignments that will be due for the next classroom meeting.
Week 2 | Soul Care:  Residents will participate in a mentoring relationship throughout the nine-month program to provide spiritual accountability, support, and intentional discussion.
Week 3 | Teaching: The purpose of having additional classroom time is to focus on the application of the content taught in the first classroom session. Residents will interact with the monthly module both in the local church context and in the residents’ efforts toward church planting.
Week 4 | Local Church Experience: Residents will visit various expressions of the church in WNY throughout the residency to experience how each module is applied within the local church.   
CPI Gatherings | Additionally, residents will experience two group gatherings with their spouse for additional time of support, encouragement, and community. Residents are also invited to attend Church of WNY large group gatherings.

Residency Eligibility Profile 
CPI draws residents from a broad spectrum of denominational and non-denominational Christian backgrounds and traditions. With this in mind, the Directional Team has developed guidelines and a process to prayerfully evaluate each proposed church plant. It is understood that not every opportunity is a good fit for the Residency Program. Prior to submitting an application, a pastor must meet specific criteria in order to be eligible for the Residency Program. Candidates must:
  • be at least 25 years old,
  • be firmly committed to plant an expression of the Church in the WNY area,
  • agree to the Lausanne Covenant,  
  • subscribe to an orthodox view of biblical marriage,
  • have completed a church planting assessment or willing to do so prior to acceptance into the program,
  • be less than one year into their planting if the church has been launched already, or within one year of launching a new church plant if the church has not yet been planted.
CPI supports interdependency within the Church of WNY. Therefore, candidates must be recommended to the Residency Program by a Church of WNY pastor. 

Residency Expectations 
In light of significant resources being invested into the development of each resident, there are expectations associated with participating in the program. Each candidate should carefully consider these expectations before applying.  
  • Residency assignments and readings necessitate approximately 15 hours of work per week during the nine-month training component. Written assignments must be completed and submitted on time.
  • Attendance at all scheduled classroom sessions and off-site activities is required. Residents should contact a member of the CPI team if they are going to be late or miss a session. It is understood that an emergency or unforeseen life event can occur that causes a resident to miss a scheduled session. Residents are allowed to miss up to three non-consecutive class sessions during the training period. After this, the resident could possibly be removed from the program. 

Sponsoring Church
CPI is looking for local churches to assist in the residency program by pouring their wisdom and experience into the lives of the residents. Churches in WNY are invited to serve as a sending church for residents. A sending church commits to supporting and further developing a resident in the following ways:
  • By providing practical ministry experiences in various areas including but not limited to leadership, church administration, and church budget.
  • Equip the resident for church leadership with opportunities within the church.
  • Financial investment to the Church Planting Initiative.

Commitment from the CPI Team
The CPI Directional Team commits to the residents in these ways:
invest in the residents and their new church plants relationally and financially
  • Provide assignments that assist residents in the planting process
  • Provide spiritual accountability and support
  • Connect residents to various churches in the WNY area for further learning opportunities and experiences
  • Provide continued community following the launch
  • Provide monthly stipends and graduation gift to qualifying residents*
    *Stipends and financial gifts are contingent upon a resident’s church plant history, active participation in the program, and available funding.  
To learn more about CPI and these opportunities, please contact us.

Please click here for a PDF of the Residency Program.