Covenant Seminary this fall established The Philip and Rebecca Douglass Chair of Church Planting and Christian Formation. Named for the Seminary’s esteemed church planting expert and Professor of Applied Theology Dr. Phil Douglass and his wife, Rebecca, the endowed faculty chair is funded through Covenant’s Hope for the Future capital campaign, which aims to support and resource seminary training for the next generation of pastors and church leaders. Dr. Douglass himself will be the first to hold the chair as he completes his final year of full-time teaching at Covenant before transitioning in July 2018 to the role of director of church planting for the Missouri Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
The Douglass Chair honors the Douglasses for their many years of church planting leadership in the PCA and for their dedicated service to and care for Covenant’s students, alumni, and their spouses over the last 30 years. It is also a response to the need within the PCA and the broader church for increased emphasis on training and sustaining church planters who are equipped to lead new congregations of God’s people in the midst of shifting cultural paradigms.
Dr. Mark Dalbey, president of Covenant Seminary, said, “We can think of no better way to express our gratitude to the Douglasses for their many years of faithful service than by naming this chair after them and appointing Phil to it for his final year with us. We look forward to seeing how God will continue to use them—through their legacy at Covenant and through Phil’s upcoming work with Missouri Presbytery—to further advance his church and Kingdom. We are grateful as well for the ministry partners who helped us establish this chair. Their generosity greatly enhances our ability to prepare future generations of leaders for the uniquely challenging work of planting new churches.”
Dr. Douglass planted multiple churches in both Washington, DC, and St. Louis, and supervised, assisted with, or consulted on many more plants around the country. He was instrumental in establishing the Atlanta-based Church Planting Assessment Center for the PCA’s Mission to North America (MNA), and served as chairman of both the PCA’s MNA National Committee and the MNA Committee of Missouri Presbytery for many years. Throughout his career, he has helped to identify, evaluate, and mentor hundreds of church planters. He and Rebecca devote much of their time to helping students and their families recognize and pursue their particular spiritual gifts and ministry callings.
On hearing of his appointment to the new chair, Dr. Douglass said, “Rebecca and I are pleased and humbled by this tremendous honor. It has been the joy of our lives to serve and shape those who in turn bring the gospel to new areas of need. We are grateful for the Seminary’s ongoing commitment to preparing church planters and are excited to see how the Lord will use those trained here to continue building his church.”
Dr. Dalbey noted that, as a further outgrowth of the Douglasses’ legacy and the Seminary’s deep commitment to church planting, Covenant has been developing a specialized Church Planting Track for its Master of Divinity (MDiv) program. Details about the new track are available here.