Bryan Barley is a contributor to Baptist21 and the lead pastor of The Summit Church Denver, a new church plant in urban Denver, CO. He and his wife, Megan, have lived in the city now for two months.

Almost two months ago my wife and I, along with several other individuals from the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC, were commissioned to plant a church in urban Denver, CO.  And while two months on the ground makes me anything but an expert, one of the invaluable lessons I’ve learned is that being planted out of a healthy, supportive local church is indispensible in the planting process.

At the heart of the Summit’s vision for church planting is the conviction that planting happens best through the local church – it’s in the local church that the best assessment, training, and support can happen. With this conviction, and a vision to plant 1,000 churches in the next 40 years, they launched SendRDU to mobilize and equip people to plant churches in cities around the world.

SendRDU facilitates both international and North American church planting, and offers training ranging from the informal to a full-time, 9 month residency to prepare lead planters for church planting.

I was fortunate to go through the entirety of the SendRDU process. It began with mentorship and assessment where pastors looked into my life and evaluated everything from my ability to lead to my ability to love my wife. It culminated with coming on staff at the Summit as an intern and then a church planting resident, providing the opportunity to be trained in everything from preaching to leading an elders meeting.

Now on the ground in Denver and fully immersed in the church planting journey, I think almost daily how frightening it would have been to plant apart from this training. My time at the Summit not only confirmed and refined our calling, it gave us the confidence and support of a local church to move forward in the face of discouragement, and provided the practical training and skills we needed to know where we’re headed.

For my brothers reading this who are considering the call to church planting, I offer you some of the best advice I received in our church planting journey: the best way to prepare to plant is to serve in a local church with a vision for planting churches. While it’s certainly possible to take other routes to planting, my time at the Summit was priceless in mobilizing, equipping, and now planting us to start a new church in the city.

For more information about SendRDU, go to