The Thistle

Church Planting Field Trip 2017 Offers Insight from Experienced Church Planters

Church Planting Field Trip 2017 

Nashville, Tennessee

Friday, October 6 – Sunday, October 8

More information and sign-up here. 

Register by September 22 for free housing.

Interested in church planting? Want to know more about what it’s like to plant a church? Have questions about the challenges of starting a new church? Whether you hope to become a church planter or are simply interested in seeing how the process works, this field trip is for you!

Covenant Seminary students and their spouses are invited to join Dr. Phil Douglass and his wife, Rebecca, as they lead a weekend trip to hear from experienced church planters about what they have learned from more than 20 years of ministry in Nashville. Spouses are strongly encouraged to attend. Nursing infants 4 months old and younger are welcome, along with teens 16 and older who want to join the meetings.

Presentations will take place at West End Community Church, 235 White Bridge Pike, Nashville, TN 37209. 

About Our Speakers

  • Scotty and Darlene Smith planted Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and will be our co-hosts for the weekend. Scotty now serves as teacher in residence at West End Community Church (PCA), our host church for the weekend.
  • Carter and Debbie Crenshaw planted West End Community Church in West Nashville in 1997. Carter continues to serve there as the senior pastor. Carter and the West End Church staff will serve as our hosts for the weekend.
  • J and Natalie Hager planted Flatrock Community Church in Nashville one year ago. They will tell us about their experiences of God’s grace during the beginning stages of the plant.
  • Matt and Chrissy Ballard planted Southpointe Community Church south of Nashville after serving on staff for five years at Perimeter Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Southpointe has become one of the fastest growing churches in the Nashville area since the Ballards planted it seven years ago.
  • Scott and Patti Sauls planted churches in Kansas City and St. Louis before Scott served as a site pastor at Redeemer PCA in Manhattan alongside Tim Keller. Scott has been the senior of Christ Presbyterian church in Nashville for six years.
  • Eric and Annette Ashley are now planting Parks Church PCA in the Sylvan Parks section of Nashville. This new church is an extension of West End Community Church (PCA).
  • Randy Draughon planted Midtown Fellowship (PCA) in 2003. The church is now meeting at four locations around Nashville.

Schedule for the Weekend

Friday, October 6

  • 12:30 p.m. – Leave from the Seminary upper level parking lot.
  • 4:30 p.m. – Fast Food at Wendy’s in Clarksville, Tennessee; take exit 1 (approx. $5).
  • 7:00 p.m. – Arrive at West End Community Church for orientation by Scotty Smith and Carter Crenshaw.
  • 8:30 p.m. – Go to West End Community Church host homes for the night.

Saturday, October 7

  • 8:00 a.m. – Breakfast at host homes.
  • 8:30 a.m. – Leave for West End Community Church.
  • 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Presentations by PCA Church Planters and their wives.
  • 5:00 p.m. – Free to explore Nashville.

Sunday, October 8

  • 8:00 a.m. – Breakfast at host homes.
  • 9:00 a.m. – Attend Sunday school and worship at West End Community Church or one of the churches of the other church planters.
  • After Worship – Return to St. Louis.


We need to know how many people are coming, so please sign up here to let us know if you are interested. You may take this course for credit, for audit–or just to come on the trip.

NOTE: Students who wish to take the field trip as a for-credit, one-hour course, must register for the course and pay for it through the One-Stop office at Covenant Seminary. If taken for credit a seven-page paper applying the principles presented will be due. No textbooks are needed.

Register by September 22 to stay with a host family free of charge and to guarantee your spot in the carpool.


For students taking the course for credit, standard tuition rates apply. Please register and pay in One-Stop. All those on the trip will be responsible for three meals eaten out, along with sharing the cost of gas among the group.


Contact Jessy Delaplane at

More information and sign-up here.