Discerning Church Starters


The cycle begins with discernment. Specifically, it begins with discerning a call to starting a new church.


There are numerous aspects to this holy process.

Thus, as a discerner, we invite you into two requirements to work through all aspects of discerning a call to start a new church. Firstly, we invite you into a relationship with one of our coaches, therapists or spiritual directors. This monthly meeting will allow you to discuss the nuances of your process of discernment with a thoughtful and caring expert. Secondly, we have found that the work of discernment needs to be worked out in a community of like-minded peoples. Thus, we invite you into one of our discernment dinners. At these dinners you will cross-pollinate your discernment process with others who are in a similar season of life.  


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Two Essentials for the Discerning Church Starter

1) Join a Discerners Group

Meet for a meal with other discerners to discuss next steps around the potential for starting a new church. View upcoming events for discerners. 

2) Begin a relationship with a coach, therapist, or spiritual advisor.

The process of discernment is best accomplished with others. Therefore, we have set up the opportunity for our discerners to meet monthly with either a coach, therapist or spiritual advisor. Connect with a coach, therapist, or spiritual advisor.



Five Activities of the Discernment Process

1) Begin to develop a vision. 

A vision for a new church often begins with the discerning church starter. As our discerners listen and pray, we encourage them to begin to frame their vision for the context in which they find themselves. 

2) Identify resourcing partners.

Different leaders require different levels of resources based upon numerous elements. As these elements are perceived, we encourage our discerners to grow healthy relationships with their partners.

3) Identify a tradition.

Starting a new church is difficult. Starting a new church without a tradition is even harder. Thus, utilizing our extensive networks for identifying a fitting tradition is essential for support and growth. 

4) Attend an assessment center.

Our assessment center for Cyclical Cascadia measures one's ability to identify what God is doing in context. Plan on walking the streets and engaging the Holy Spirit while a caring group of objective assessors gauge aptitudes essential for starting new churches.

5) Begin to gather a church starting team.

We can't do this alone. Thus, beginning to gather a team around a common and shared vision is an essential step toward becoming a church starter. 


It has been a journey discerning God’s call for me. Church planting has always been something my husband and I have felt called to, and CLA has provided a safe and nurturing environment with lots resources of knowledge and strategies for people like me. We listen, converse and discern God’s call together in a community. Meeting with my spiritual director has been very beneficial as she reflects and provides feedback. Monthly meetings and networking events with discerners and church starters have inspired and prepared me for church planting. I am truly grateful to be part of CLA, and I am excited to see God’s plan unfolds.
— Elizabeth Chu, Discerning Church Starter