To help determine the suitability of a partnership between your church or ministry and SUM,  kindly complete this U.S. Cohort Partnership Form

Once a Cohort Visionary Leader (Senior Pastor) decides to partner with SUM, a Board Resolution must be submitted to the Oakland office for approval (PDF).  The second critical factor is the selection of the Cohort Advisor (CA). The Visionary Leader will make their selection for SUM to vet and approve.  SUM asks that the CA have a Master’s degree if they intended to also teach. Otherwise a B.A. Degree will suffice.  (Any exceptions to this must be approved by the Oakland office).

The key factor is how soon a church can get their first ten students enrolled.  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 Regional Director) to develop a recruitment strategy.  Additional steps, found in our Standard Cohort Timeline, are necessary for a successful launch.

  • 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.
    Rationale: SUM is not solely an academic institution. SUM believes that academic studies, practical hands-on ministry, personal development 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)
  • Attend at least one of the annual Visionary Leaders’ meetings.
Global Leadership Initiative

Global Leadership Initiative

Occasionally a church may also choose to partner with another church in their endeavor to start a cohort. Additional information regarding cohorts can be found in our Global Leadership Initiative brochure:






Steps to Starting a Cohort

For more information contact SUM's Vice-President of Cohort Development, Rod Whitlock.