WHAT IS SOMA SENDING?

The Soma Family of Churches comes together to plant new churches of missional communities through Soma Sending. Soma Sending is a 21-month Church Planting Leadership Residency which exists to raise up and send equipped & healthy church planters to start dynamic, healthy churches. For the past 3 years we have seen these efforts in church planting result in gospel-saturated disciples multiplying in N. America in  places like Detroit, Philadelphia, Orlando and internationally in Leon, Mexico and Nitra, Slovakia

SOMA SENDING 2019-2020

Initial applications are now open for the 2019-2020 round of Soma Sending. Soma Sending consists of six, 14-week Summit classes over two years, combined with local Soma church immersion/internship, provide a unique, personalized, immersive training for up to 14 potential planters. Please review the Soma Sending Info Document to make sure you meet the prerequisites and understand the program. Initial applications are due May 1st.

Cost and application details are available on the Apply Page:
Soma Sending Info Document
Soma Sending Apply Page
General Interest Form

SOMA Sending FAQs

Soma Sending is carried out in three, interwoven components to provide unified, quality training that’s customized to each planting couple’s context:

  1. Immersion/Externship: the Customized Component generally involves an immersion into a local church family for at least a portion of the two-year process. In this context, potential planters learn by doing, creating a Personalized Development Plan crafted to the potential planter’s specific areas of growth in his personal life, mission, and ministry. Some externships also exist in which a Soma leader coaches the potential planter in marks of a healthy Soma plant.
  2. Sending Summits: the Unified Component involves six 14-week classes*, in which potential planters complete prep work and assignments and participate in cohort coaching. In the middle of each class, potential planters meet for a four-day Summit, where they engage in training and conversations with experts in various planting competencies. Wives join in for three Summits. Each round’s trainers differ, but previous rounds have included Jeff Vanderstelt, Dr. Ray and Jani Ortlund, Terry and Wendy Virgo, Elliot Grudem, Dhati Lewis, Dr. Rick McKinley, Dr. Matt Carter, Dr. Dwayne Bond, Dr. Bob and Nikki Roberts, Dr. Gerry Breshears, and other experts in various competencies as well as various local Soma church leaders. [*Plus 1-Week Breaks for Spring Break and Thanksgiving and a 2-Week Break for Christmas]

Assignments/Assessments: Throughout Soma Sending, potential planters carry out various assignments and regularly receive feedback and informal assessment from local and national coaches based on interactions, assignments, and personal development plan. Before the process begins and at the middle and end of the two years, the potential planter is also formally assessed in personal, biblical-theological, and pastoral/planting competencies. Wives participate in regular cohort coaching  along with other wives walking through the process.

Through applications, formal and informal assessments, and assignments, each resident’s immersion/externship provides you with an annual personalized development plan contextualized to your specific areas of need/growth throughout the Soma Sending process. Some common ministry areas that are covered by immersions/externships are pastoral counsel, biblical-theological competency, elder qualifications, marriage and family leadership, missional community/church leadership/follow-ability, and team development.

Soma Sending’s unified Summits give each resident training, resources, and hands-on practice in over 30 church planting competencies. Summits begin with foundational elements (like Gospel-centeredness and Spirit-ledness, marriage and family, and self-awareness and personal leadership). Then they look at the mission field (including disciple-making, ministry in the margins, hospitality, and core-team building). From there, residents build a ministry philosophy (considering fundraising and budget, creating and casting vision, discipleship in community, and organizational culture) and look at the detailed practice of ministry in a missional, community-based church (such as preaching, communication strategy, pastoral shepherding, and care in community) before considering personal sustainability (self-care and thriving in ministry for the long haul).

Yes! Through a unique partnership with Western Seminary (based in Portland, OR), participants who meet Western’s admission requirements and who complete all Soma Sending components can gain 16 hours of Master’s-level credit, which can a) result in a Graduate Studies Certificate in Church Planting from Western Seminary, b) be applied toward a Master’s degree within Western Seminary, or c) be transferred as credit to another institution. Seminary credit adds to the cost of Soma Sending, but comes at 65% less than Western’s current tuition rate. Learn more about receiving credit for Soma Sending.

Soma Sending is not a general church leadership training; it’s specifically designed for those who feel compelled to plant a Gospel-centered, missional church, and have seen some confirmation to that end. It’s designed for the “working man,” with both Immersion/Externship and Summit assignments designed to fit within approximately 8-10 hrs/wk (plus Summits). You must be affirmed by your wife (if married) and by another ministry leader.

An applicant should be a man of At Least 23 Years, who has confirmed Church/Ministry Leadership experience, and will either Foreseeably Plant In 1–3 Years or Is Generally within 12 Months of Having Planted (Still In “Core Team” Phase). You must Have Been Involved with a Soma Church Have Attended Soma School,Had Experience Leading a Missional Community, and must display evidence of the Character, Competency, And Capacity to plant. You must exhibit Humility and Teachability and must Be Able to Commit 8-10 Hrs/Wk for 2 years, plus participation in 6 Wednesday—Saturday Summits. You must remain Committed to Elements of Church Life, Ministry, and Mission during the process. You must Hold to the Lausanne Covenant  and Soma’s Distinctives ().

If you’re further into your plant than this description, CLICK HERE to learn about Soma Plant Coaching.

All Soma Sending Residents must:

  • have been involved with a Soma Church, or
  • have attended Soma School and
  • had experience leading a Missional Community, and
  • must display evidence of the character, competency, and capacity to plant a dynamic, healthy church of missional communities.

Applying to Soma Sending is a four-phase process.  Each phase gets increasingly and intentionally personal and costs $250 ($120 of that directly covers the cost of planter assessments):

INITIAL APPLICATIONS ARE DUE MAY 1 FOR THE FOLLOWING YEAR’S ROUND OF SOMA SENDING

PHASE 1: INITIAL APPLICATION (COST: $150; ~8 HOURS)

  • Initial Application (~4 hours to complete): general info; personal description; spiritual life; preparedness; agreement. Upon submission, you’ll be directed to a payment page for your $130 application fee. Your Initial Assessment Is Not Complete Until We’ve Received Your Application Fee.
  • Initial Assessment (~1 hour to complete): head to soma.churchplanterprofiles.com, choose “SOMA” from the list of agencies if asked, and complete the Initial Assessment, which costs $19.95. (Please answer based on who you are, not who you’d like to be!)
  • Bible & Theology Assessment (~2 hours to complete): displays the degree to which you understand basic, objective biblical and theological truths.
  • Initial Interview (~1 hour to complete): dive into any questions from the initial application & looks at your readiness

PHASE 2: CANDIDATE APPLICATION (COST: $99; ~8 HOURS)

  • Personal & Pastoral Application (~6 hours to complete): includes personal and church history; confidential spiritual/emotional/mental health; leadership; pastoral theology; sermon sample)
  • Candidate Assessments (~1 hours to complete): head back to soma.churchplanterprofiles.com; upgrade your account for $99. You’ll complete a personality profile, DiSC, StrengthsFinderTM, spiritual gifts assessments, and a 360-degree evaluation to give Soma Sending insight into your gifts.
  • Wife’s Application (1-2 hours to complete): gains insight into and affirmation from your wife, and initiates her into the Soma Sending process while overviewing wives’ coaching.
  • Final Interview (~1 hour to complete): dives into any questions from the applications and assessments

APPLY NOW

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SOMA SENDING 2018-2019

Initial applications are now open for the 2018-2019 round of Soma Sending. Soma Sending consists of six 14-week Summit classes over two years, combined with local Soma church immersion/externship for a unique, personalized, immersive training for up to 14 potential planters.  Please review the Soma Sending Info Document to make sure you meet the prerequisites and understand the program. Initial applications are due July 1st.

Cost and application details are available on the Apply Page:

SOMA SENDING APPLY PAGE

Once accepted, residents’ tuition is $7800 (~$325/mo for 24 months). This is 70% of our total cost; the rest is covered by contributions from Soma churches and other generous donors. Your tuition covers all administrative, coaching, leadership, and expert expenses as well as resources assessments, and supplies. It also covers all Summit expenses once you arrive (Training, Activities, Food, Lodging, Etc.). Tuition is paid either annually or in six installments over two years. As part of the training, we strongly encourage you to raise your tuition.

Every round of Soma Sending is limited to about 12 resident couples. In the future we may double this number with a Western US and Eastern US cohort.

Atanasio Segovia – Leon, Mexico

From a lion’s den to lentil field, God uses places and events to draw us closer to Him. God used Soma Sending to change my life and draw me near. I joined a group of strangers and walked away with a band of brothers.  The content, classes, speakers, and trips were great. Seeing how God used all to build up His church was better.

My life looks different today because of Soma Sending. I am in an unexpected place with an unclear future. Yet, I am hopeful because of how God prepared me through Soma Sending. I am thankful for the godly men he introduced in my life. The coaching, mentoring, and support has been a source of encouragement.

Soma Sending is where church planters become shepherds and strangers become brothers. It is a great program to equip and mature followers of Jesus to proclaim the Gospel and start healthy churches.



Dawson Jones – Nitra, Slovakia

I went in to the Soma Sending residency thinking that I was signing up for two years of growing in competency, but thankfully, at the end I realized that it was primarily about growing in dependency.  I went in thinking that I would acquire some needed skills, which I did, but I came out recognizing that what I needed more than anything was to be aware of my neediness as a pastor, a leader, a husband, a father, and a human being.  I needed to be needy. I had been trying to do the work of God without the power and presence of God for over seven years.

The way the residency is structured allows for many opportunities for these kind of heart issues to surface.  The combination of an immersion into a local church while being in a national cohort led by a centralized team allows for exponentially more than what a local church residency or a coaching cohort could provide on their own.  There is a very intentional and close feedback loop between the leadership of the immersion church and the Soma Sending team that are both committed to developing and nurturing residents. The outsourcing of the curriculum, assignments, speakers, and summits to the Soma Sending team allows these aspects to be of much higher quality than something a local church could provide on its own.  This structure then allows there to be a more deliberate and careful focus on the less tangible aspects of development: calling, character, and chemistry.

Though this is a development program for church planters, the end goal is not to manufacture church planters, but to help every participant better understand in what way their story and gifting fits into the mission of God. This happened for 100% of our cohort.  My cohort brothers and their wives will be lifelong friends and partners of ours who are committed to the flourishing of our marriage and our ministry as we are to theirs. Now, pastoring a church in Eastern Europe that is currently planting another church, my wife and I bring up our thankfulness for these formative years often.  We did just a couple days ago. Jesus cared for us and is caring for us still through this residency. I continue to grow in my neediness, and Jesus continues to provide what’s needed.



James Wiebe – Denver, Colorado

My life and faith have been impacted by Soma Sending in ways I would never have predicted. I found out about Soma as an organization three years before I started Soma Sending, and I had attended Soma School two years beforehand. I had watched all the videos and read the books. I had studied and taught the identities and rhythms. We had already begun our first missional community and were watching it grow, both numerically and spiritually. At first, I was hesitant to commit two more years to something we had already started living out, but Soma Sending is much more than I first expected. It is a program uniquely constructed around each participant’s areas of strength and areas of need. It is an intensive two year immersion and coaching experience where you will absolutely learn in depth about the Soma DNA, but more specifically, the program is designed to help you grow in your relationship and discipleship to Jesus as you grow in the various skills and practices of church planting. If you’re considering Soma Sending, you need to know that you will be challenged to know yourself better by getting to know Jesus better. This is a critical distinction from simply learning ministry skills and practices. You will be pushed and challenged and stretched, but you will also be deeply loved and cared for as you do it.

I gained a theological grounding that I did not have before. I have been challenged to think systematically through the multi-layered process that is church planting. Through various means, I was asked to confront my own idolatry and to grow to believe in the person and work of Jesus at a more personal level. Soma Sending has helped me gain a much clearer and healthier set of expectations of what planting a church will entail over the long-term and has helped me prioritize tasks and goals that line up specifically with the place and culture of where we are planting. My personal awareness and practice of the Gospel in my family, friendships, and church relationships is vastly different today than before we started. Through this process I have gained a lot of practical knowledge about myself and about this work God has called me to, but more importantly, I know and love Jesus more today than I did when I started, and in my opinion that is perhaps the most important criteria for what is required to plant a healthy church where the power and presence of the Kingdom are being worked out through the everyday stuff of life in places and lives where Jesus is not yet known.

If you are considering church planting, know that healthy churches are planted by healthy planters, and the converse is usually also true. If you are feeling led to plant a church, even if a program like Soma Sending feels like a delay for what you envision, it is exactly the opposite of a delay. It will be time very well invested. Make the commitment to spend the time preparing on the front end, building a solid Gospel foundation for all the things that you’ll do specific to your plant. Along the way, you will find brotherhood, friendship, and accountability in the group of men who go through the process with you. Don’t overlook this as something that will just happen once you get started. Church planting can be hard and lonely at times, and having people from all over the country praying and supporting you as you take steps into this process is a huge blessing! If you are married, Soma Sending has done a great job of involving your wives in this process and providing them with specific content and support as well. (Trust me…this is a big deal!) Admittedly, going through Soma Sending took a lot of time, effort, vulnerability, and trust, but the investment of those things has been returned many times over to me, my wife, and the people we are seeking to love and bless as we plant. Lastly, plan to hold your dreams with an open hand towards God. The reality is that some people may go through Soma Sending only to have God show them that they aren’t ready to plant. There’s blessing and growth in that too because our churches exist for God’s glory and the people’s good.