Christian University Collaborative Will Equip Pastors And 'Church Planters'

Tuesday, March 29 2022 by Richard D. Hunt/Halle Johnson

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Students study scripture
Cedarville University
Students study scripture

In an innovative educational partnership with the Great Commission Collective association of churches, The Graduate School at Cedarville University seeks to help grow the next generation of church planters and pastors. 

The Great Commission Collective (GCC), located in Indianapolis, Indiana, resources and supports church planting around the world. 

Cedarville's School of Biblical and Theological Studies, under the leadership of dean, Dr. Trent Rogers, will work to develop a new online master’s program that will equip pastors and church planters for effective ministry through biblical and theological studies with practical ministry experiences. The goal is that those practical ministry experiences can be accomplished through GCC’s existing church planting modules.

Dr. Trent Rogers, dean of the school of biblical and theological studies at Cedarville University
[Photo Credit: Cedarville University] Dr. Trent Rogers, dean of the school of biblical and theological studies at Cedarville University

“Our current hope is that a quarter of the credits within the new program will include applied experience based on GCC training courses so that students can be fully equipped to plant a church,” said Dr. John Crabtree, GCC’s director of training.

. Dr. John Crabtree, Great Commission Collective
[Photo Credit: GCC] . Dr. John Crabtree, Great Commission Collective

As part of the agreement, GCC will also promote Cedarville educational opportunities, participate in Cedarville conferences and establish a residency program focused on practical experience in ministry for graduate and undergraduate students.

This is GCC’s first partnership with an institution of higher learning. “We have had collaborations and training courses across the nation, but this is our first academic collaboration,” said Crabtree. “A number of leaders at the GCC have strong ties to Cedarville, and we feel excited about a long-term relationship with a like-minded institution.” 

“It is a privilege to collaborate with a group of churches that is so intentional about the gospel, discipleship and advancing the kingdom,” said Dr. Janice Supplee, dean of  The Graduate School of Cedarville and vice president for marketing and communications. “We trust that our work together will equip church planters and pastors for effective ministry and introduce future students and families to the excellent graduate, undergraduate and dual enrollment programs that Cedarville offers.”

Dr. Janice Supplee, vice president of marketing and communications, Cedarville University
[Photo Credit: Cedarville University] Dr. Janice Supplee, vice president of marketing and communications, Cedarville University

Crabtree hopes that the program also offers opportunities for more Cedarville students, both undergraduate and graduate, to recognize a call to church planting.

“I hope that this program becomes a conduit for church planters,” said Crabtree. “We at the Great Commission Collective believe there are students at Cedarville who are church planters. Our hope is that through this collaboration those students would recognize God’s call and follow it into the church planting field.”


Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,715 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in biblical leadership programs, strong graduation, and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit

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