LAUNCH A COHORT
Foundations for Partnership:
As an educational institution, SUM values its relationship with Partnering Ministries and seeks to establish healthy partnerships with organizations that share the values and vision of the institution. These partnerships provide an opportunity to work together toward the Billion Soul Harvest by empowering men and women for fivefold ministry.
A Partnering Ministry may begin with as few as one student in order to be recognized as part of SUM. Those Partnering Ministries with one to nine students will be considered a Cell and be assigned to the Main Campus or the partnering Hub for accountability and oversight.
To be considered a Cohort, a site must launch with at least ten (10) full-time (FT) students. Once a site reaches 10 FT students, they may apply to be a Cohort or remain a Cell of the Main Campus or Hub. Certified Cohorts are eligible for all of the benefits provided by SUM and hire a Cohort Advisor to oversee the cohort.
The cohort Visionary Leader (VL), Lead/Senior Pastor, who serves in one of the fivefold offices (Eph. 4:11) must be committed to SUM’s vision. The VL must support and commit to the Mission Statement of SUM and the SUM Cohort Mission Statement. The VL may serve as the Cohort Advisor, but if the VL delegates the position to another leader, the VL must still mentor cohort students (chapel service) an average of two hours per week. The Visionary is also asked to attend SUM’s annual Visionary Leadership Conference held in New Orleans, LA during the Mardi Gras Outreach.
Cohort Launch Phases
Vetting of Site: Complete U.S. Partnership Form, Explore Recruitment Potential, Complete Board Resolution, Establish Mutual Commitments
Hire Cohort Advisor, Integration with Church Master Calendar, Cohort Workflow
Strategic Planning and Schedule Cohort Site Visit
Cohort Advisor Training and Systems Access, Promotional materials shared, Website and application updates
Plan Kick Off Sunday for local staff and potential students
Kick Off Event/ Promotion opportunities/ Speaking engagements/ VL appeals
New student application and enrollment
New Student Orientation
Personal Mentorship programs established
Practical Ministry programs established
Students, Cohort Advisor, Staff, Classrooms prepped for the start of the trimester
SUM is not solely an academic institution. SUM believes that academic studies, practical hands-on ministry, personal spiritual formation and mentoring are four vital areas for true ministerial development. An important training component comes through mentoring by spiritual leaders who have a passion to pass the torch to the next generation of spiritual leaders. SUM believes that mentoring is the key element missing in most theological ministry preparation. Jesus gathered together a group of 12 disciples and he poured his life into them. SUM desires to replicate Jesus’ mentoring patterns in SUM’s cohorts. This factor elevates the need of the VL to participate in this mentoring process also practiced by Paul the Apostle. (1 Thess. 2:8)
To help determine the suitability of a partnership between your church or ministry and SUM, kindly complete and submit the SUM Partnership Form which is signed after the cohort has been vetted, and both SUM and the Partnering Ministry agree to enter into a partnership.
International locations should complete International Cohort Partnership Form and visit the Launch an International Cohort page for launch steps and contact information.
A critical factor in the launch of a cohort is the selection of the Cohort Advisor (CA). The Visionary Leader will make their selection for SUM to vet and approve. Parties who are interested in becoming a Cohort Advisor with SUM must go through a five-stage vetting process, namely: 1) recommendation, 2) application, 3) evaluation, 4) training, and 5) deployment. SUM prefers CA that have a graduate degree, however, a CA may be selected that is in the process of completing a degree with SUM or another accredited institution.
Another key factor in launching a health cohort is for the partnering ministry to recruit and enroll their first ten students. Recruitment is critical to the success of your cohort. After the selection and approval of the CA, the CA will work with the U.S. Cohort Director or Director of Enrollment Management to develop a recruitment strategy. Additional steps, found in our Standard Cohort Timeline, are necessary for a successful launch.