Learning Cohorts

Grow and learn in community with V3 coaches and fellow church planters


About Learning Cohorts

Research shows that church planters who engage in an in-depth training experience, alongside experienced coaches, are more likely to succeed in their efforts at church planting. This is why every church that partners with V3 participates in learning cohorts (LC). These cohorts provide strategic training for planters as you journey through the formative phases of planting churches and starting movements. The training is holistic, communal, peer-based, practice and process oriented, transferable and conducive to movement.
It will expose you to essential processes, tools and practices of church planting from a distinctly movemental approach. If you have even the slightest interest in joining a learning cohort, please fill out this questionnaire.

Click here for Learning Cohort Application


Are you trying to discern if church planting is something you are called to do? We host day seminars to help you discern. While everyone can be a part of a church plant, not everyone is gifted to lead or co-lead a plant. In this seminar we examine the competencies needed to be a successful church planter and assess areas of strength and needed growth. In addition, we take a look at your character, what it takes to form a core team, as well as discover if you have the capacity to plant at this time.


If you are in the pre-plant phase, or are a new plant (within the first three years) then this is your learning cohort. In every endeavor, in every field, knowing and practicing the basics is integral to success. The engaging learning cohort is framed around eight competencies: Movement Intelligence, Polycentric Leadership, Being Disciples, Making Disciples, Missional Theology, Ecclesial Architecture, Community Formation and Incarnational Practices (see explanation below) which you will learn about at the beginning of the cohort. This learning cohort is a pre-requisite to the establishing learning cohort, as you must have a working knowledge of these competencies before moving forward. This is designed for a planter or co-planters.


This learning cohort is the second year of the G8 training (followed by the Engaging LC) where you learn to become more competent as a planter, moving toward knowing the basics instinctually as you go deeper in each of the eight themes and eight competencies learned in year one. Your coach will help you look at these eight themes and competencies with your team and context in mind. This final year of training is designed for a planter and/or co-planters.


Once you have completed the Engaging and Establishing Learning Cohorts (LC), you are eligible to apply for the Equipping LC. This learning cohort is about cultivating movement makers. It is training for speakers, coaches and facilitators who want to help multiply learning cohorts. Experienced coaches will walk beside you to discern areas in which God is calling you to specialize. You will learn to put yourself in the shoes of planters who are just starting, using your five-fold gifting to help others move forward. The equipping cohort helps you become a master in your craft.


Our Approach to Training


At V3 we help you discover and live into the eight competencies needed for the grassroots work of movement and church planting.


Movement Intelligence – discover what it means to see the church as movement, understand the anatomy of movement and the five-fold approach to leadership that is needed to start and sustain movement.

Polycentric Leadership – uncover an approach to leading that lends itself to a relational approach to leadership, a communal approach to spiritual formation and an incarnational and distributive approach to being on mission.



Being Disciples – learn what it means to develop an inner life that can withstand the pressure and temptations common to planters, as well as how to cultivate sacred companions for the journey.

Making Disciples – explore the various dynamics of the discipleship relationship, the stages of discipleship, how to discern who you call to be a part of your discipleship core and ways to detect work of the spirit.



Missional Theology – discover how the social and sending nature of God shapes our approach to mission, understand the nature of the kingdom of God, how to share a holistic gospel and the importance of baptism and communion.

Ecclesial Architecture as you understand the nature and essential functions of what it means to be the church, it frees you to re-imagine what it means to be the church in your context, and live into a rhythm of life rooted in the neighborhood.



Community Formation – developing a common life together that reflects Jesus’ vision of community is the difficult and messy work of learning to share a table together, cultivating a missional culture, and build lasting relationships.

Incarnational PracticesGod became flesh and blood in Jesus and moved into the neighborhood, in a similar way we need to engage in practices that help us to get rooted in our neighborhood, fall in love with our neighbors, be and share the good news, as we work for the common good.


You will learn how to flesh out these eight competencies in your context. We take a “formational learning” approach to growing in the various competencies which involves more than just passing along information. Formational learning is about the active shaping of our minds (meta-learning), our soul’s (reflective learning), and our bodies (experiential learning).


Meta-learning: Each week you will have your mind exposed to new paradigms and ideas that are likely to produce an “aha moment”. Meta-moments are often beautifully unsettling ideas that have the power to reshape the way we live.


Reflective-learning: We take time every week to excavate deeper learning in the soul through good questions and conversation, exploring what’s below the surface, processing our meta-learning moments. Thoughtful practice follows deep reflection.


Experiential-learning: Formational learning hasn’t taken place until theory moves to practice. So we help you consider what real-time experiences and active steps you need to take in the body, to help you move forward in mission.



Experienced coaches lead each of the learning cohorts.  The learning cohort meets weekly via live online video sessions, where the coach takes about 20 minutes to review the material for that week, and then 40 minutes to help the group process the content and implications for planting.  The V3 Coach will use the formational learning approach to facilitate reflection on what you are learning, and to assist you in developing how a strategic action. Formational learning moves beyond simply increasing your intelligence, it involves moving from theory to practice in a contextual way.


While every church plant will be different, there are situational realities common to all pioneering ventures. Interspersed throughout the LC experience will be opportunities for you to receive strategic consulting from coaches, facilitators, specialists, practitioners, and thought leaders who can speak into the challenges of doing frontier work. One of the unique distinctions of the V3 learning cohorts is that you will have opportunity to connect with leading missional practitioners and thought leaders at various times during the year through special webinars. These special guests will share on a theme or competency for 30 to 40 minutes, then you will have time to interact with them about the topic.


The training starts off with a face-to-face conference in Washington DC called the Praxis Gathering. The learning cohort meets up one day before the gathering and then sticks around for this gathering which helps us to re-imagine what it means to be the church in our increasingly post-Christendom context.  The Praxis Gathering focuses on grounded missional practices and our communicators are thoughtful practitioners who are living out the material that they are sharing with us.

We end the year with an optional gathering in Malibu, California. During this time we take the time and space to get physically refreshed, emotionally recharged and spiritually renewed. We leave plenty of time to go surfing, hiking and hanging out together. While the Praxis Gathering is heavy on content, the Malibu time is more contemplative in nature.


Linda Bergquist
Church Strategist, Author – San Francisco, CA

David Fitch
Founding Pastor, Life on the Vine, Professor, Northern Seminar, Author – Chicago, IL

Kevin Haah
Founding Pastor, New City Church, Founder, LA Church Planting Movement – Los Angeles, CA

Hugh Halter
Founder, Missio, Pastor, Adullam, Author – Denver, CO

Fred Harrell
Founding Pastor, City Church San Francisco – San Francisco, CA

Brandon Hatmaker
Co-founder, Restore Communities, Missional Strategist, Missio, Author – Austin, TX

Wil Hernandez
Founder and President, Center Quest, Spiritual Director, Author – Pasadena, CA

Alan Hirsch
Founding Director of Forge Mission Training Network, Co-leads Future Travelers, Author – Los Angeles, CA

Deb Hirsch
Pastor, Steering Committee, Missio Alliance, Author, Speaker – Los Angeles, CA

Todd Hunter
Pastor and assistant Bishop, Anglican Church, Author – Costa Mesa, CA

Caesar Kalinowski
Director, GCM Collective, Church Planter, Author – New York, NY

Scot McKnight
Professor, Northern Seminary, Blogger, Author – Chicago, IL

Phil Meadows
Director, Inspire Network, Lecturer in Missiology and Wesleyan Studies, Cliff College/University of Manchester – Hope Valley, England

Cherith Fee Nordling
Associate Professor, Northern Seminary, Speaker, Author – Chicago, IL

Bob Roberts Jr.
Founding Pastor, Northwood Church, Movement Leader, Author – Keller, TX

Ed Stezter
President, Lifeway Research, Speaker, Blogger, Author – Nashville, TN

Jon Tyson
Founding Pastor, Trinity Grace Church, Founder, City Collective, Author – New York, NY

Jeff Vanderstelt
Visionary Leader of Soma, a family of churches – Tacoma, WA