Next Discernment Center -

May 2024, Eugene, OR

If you are trying to discover if church planting is in your future, or if your church wants to send a potential planter,  our discernment center can help with your process.  Contact Aaron Sutherland aarons@covechurchpnw for more information

The discernment center is generally held in the fall, but when the need arises we also add one in the spring.

Purpose: To help the candidate discover, through prayerful, discerning and objective evaluation the next ministry steps for maximum effectiveness in the future. 

In the midst of a critical decision, the early church in Acts 15:28 made this statement, "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us..." We hold the call of God in high value. God speaks, and God calls. Often it takes time and wise counsel to discern the specifics of how to live out that call. That is what the Discernment Center aims to help a potential planter do - to have confidence in their next steps. 

Though this is an evaluative event and not a training event, it will provide opportunity for valuable learning experiences with other like-minded leaders. It will help a leader to know practical next steps to grow, and the participant will leave with a greater perspective and understanding of God's calling on their life. Also, Discover Church Planting will use the results of the discernment to determine whether to extend an offer of support to a potential planter. We want to be able to answer this question: Does this person have the capacity to start a church that will be self-sustaining in 2-3 years, and reproducing within 5 years? 

When should I go to a Discernment Center? The ideal time is at least 1 year prior to the projected launch of a new church. However, it can be done at any time. 


Three Days

Enough time to connect, to observe, and to evaluate

Multiple Advisors

Ministry leaders who have experience as pastors and church planters, have been trained as coaches and assessors and have worked with many leaders in a variety of contexts. We will also have an onsite professional counselor to add additional insight. This provides an objective basis for evaluation

A Variety of Tools

There is a pre-discernment application, and we use instruments such as a Marriage Inventory, DISC, EQi and the Church Planter’s Candidate Assessment from Lifeway that are submitted prior to the discernment to aid in the overall evaluation of the potential planter. 

Creative Exercises

These include teaching, interviews and individual and group presentations. 

Objective Outcomes

At the end of the discernment every candidate is given helpful feedback of strengths, things to work on, and specific recommendations of next steps to take. 

The goal is to help every person discover where they are best suited to serve God’s Kingdom. One of the best things a person can discover is that church planting is not for them before they jump into it. In these cases, we will encourage other directions because we believe everybody is a 10 somewhere!

Click HERE for a a link to the Discernment Center Application.