The Thistle

Dr. Phil Douglass to Expand Church Planting Influence in New Role with Missouri Presbytery

Dr. Phil Douglass, seasoned church planter, Professor of Applied Theology at Covenant Seminary, and long-time chair of the Mission to North America (MNA) Committee of the Missouri Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), will soon be more involved than ever in the Presbytery’s expanding church planting efforts. Dr. Douglass has agreed to assume the newly created role of Director of Church Planting for Missouri Presbytery in July 2018. In that role, he will help oversee the Presbytery’s church planting, growth, and renewal activities and provide ongoing support and encouragement for its church planters. Missouri Presbytery announced the appointment at its spring meeting on April 18. Dr. Douglass will continue to teach full-time at Covenant Seminary through the 2017–2018 academic year before transitioning into his new role with the Presbytery. The Seminary will conduct a national search soon to fill the position Douglass will leave behind.

Dr. Douglass brings considerable experience to his new role. He spent 14 years pastoring in Washington, DC, where he planted three churches. Since coming to teach at Covenant Seminary in 1986, he has planted two more churches and served for six years as a weekend pastor at a local church where he also mentored students—all while continuing to teach full-time. Douglass has also supervised, assisted with, or consulted on the planting of many more churches over the course of his career. He has served as chairman of the PCA’s National MNA Committee and, until recently, as chairman of the Missouri MNA Committee. He was instrumental in establishing MNA’s Church Planting Assessment Center at the PCA’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and has been a key player in evaluating and preparing hundreds of church planters in the last few decades.

Douglass is beloved by Covenant Seminary students and alumni for spending hundreds of hours each year meeting one-on-one to mentor and assist them in clarifying their sense of calling. His book What is Your Church’s Personality? Discovering and Developing the Ministry Style of Your Church (P&R, 2008) has helped many pastors and pulpit committees understand their churches’ unique ministry styles and gifts. Douglass and his wife, Rebecca, host an annual Church Planting Field Trip during which students spend a weekend visiting with and learning from leaders of successful church plants. For many years, the Douglasses also annually sponsored and coordinated special sections of two Master of Divinity courses focused specifically on topics of interest to wives of MDiv students and other women who will be involved in various ministry roles. Douglass is currently director of Covenant Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program and is a past president of the Association of Doctor of Ministry Directors.

Dr. Mark Dalbey, president of Covenant Seminary, said, “We are thrilled for Phil and excited about the expanded role he will play in helping to establish more Bible-believing, theologically Reformed churches in Missouri Presbytery. Phil’s heart for church planters and his innovative approach to cultivating, mentoring, and encouraging them make him ideally suited to such a position. We are grateful for the benefit of his expertise during his 30 years at Covenant Seminary and look forward to seeking ways in which he can continue to be a blessing to the Seminary community even after he takes on his new responsibilities with Missouri Presbytery.”