Church Intensive




a note from francis

Haven't you always been a bit confused about Church?  You read about the unstoppable power, miraculous love, and outrageous sacrifice of the first church.  Then you wonder if it is even possible for the church today.  

We believe it is not only possible, but it is promised and commanded.  And we want to invite you to dream with us and hopefully reignite your hope for the church.  Join us to take a fresh look at the Scriptures, and experience how we pursue these biblical ideals for church in San Francisco.

Our church is far from perfect, but we are beginning to experience some of the blessings promised in Scripture.  Our hope is to encourage you along your journey.  Through our Church Intensive, you can engage in classes taught by pastors of We Are Church, participate in our house church gatherings, hit the streets with us to reach out to the community, and refocus in prayer both personally and together.


what is church intensive?

The Church Intensive is a training for pastors and future pastors to study ecclesiology alongside of We Are Church, the church planting network started by Francis Chan in 2013. 

Church Intensive Tracts:

4 day: Our four day intensive is for those currently in leadership positions with a church as well as those who are preparing to plant a church soon.  The purpose is to help those leaders think through church Biblically, be exposed to our approach here in in the San Francisco Bay Area, and think through what changes might be necessary in their leadership. All day Sunday and Wednesday night will be spent joining with one of our family churches. Monday through Wednesday some of our elders and pastors will lead discussion-based training in small groups. We will talk through the Biblical vision of church as well as structural decisions and methodology that We Are Church has implemented. These sessions will be smaller and involve more face time with elders and pastors of We Are Church than the 10 day for the sake of prioritizing conversations about leadership over the church.

10 day: Our ten day intensive is for those who are interested in starting a home based church or have recently done so. We believe that church can be very simple, not requiring the programming, money, staffing, formal education, and buildings that we've often assumed. Here in San Francisco (and around the world) we are seeing normal lovers of Jesus, with no ministry degrees or formal ministry training, planting and leading churches. Our hope is to help train these types of people to plant churches by walking through what would be necessary Biblically and painting a vision for what it could look like.  Each fifteen day group will live out the vision of the church together during their time by living in community, loving each other deeply, developing strategies for evangelism together, studying the Bible as a body, and praying together regularly. Attendees will also join with one of our local family churches during their time to observe how they function as well as receive daily teaching from an elder or pastor with We Are Church


who can come?

4 day: This is for those who are currently serving as a pastor or elder within their church or those who are in other forms of church leadership and sense a calling to start a home based church in the near future.  It is specifically geared towards people with more experience in the church who don’t need as much of a foundational focus on character and practicals as the ten day intensive attendees. Those who are accepted into the Intensive can also have someone else from their church apply to join them.

10 day: Anyone who feels led to pursue starting simple, home based churches can apply for this session.  It is specifically geared towards a younger group in their 20’s and 30’s who don’t have as much leadership experience.  It does not require applicants to hold a position in a church, but it is specifically geared toward those who are looking to take what is learned here and apply it in the near future in the context of church leadership.

If you do not qualify for either of these Intensives, we are continually seeking to build out our website to offer resources that can be helpful to learn more.

* Based on our best attempt to understand Scripture, we believe that the responsibility of teaching men and having spiritual authority over men is specifically for men only (1 Timothy 2). Because of this, all of our elders and pastors at We Are Church are men. We know that many of our brothers and sisters in the Lord do not have the same interpretation of Scripture as we do, so we want to be clear ahead of time where we land on this issue. It will not be a focus in our teaching during the Intensive, but it does sometimes come up during discussions. With that said, we accept both men and women into our Church Intensives.


the experience

4 day: This session will be very heavy on discussion with one or two of our elders.  Topics include the importance of godly character in leadership, the difference between commands from God and man made traditions, the importance of our love for one another, the cost of discipleship fleshed out in the local church, the power of everyone using their gifts in the body, as well as a look into the vision and practices of We Are Church.  These topics are fleshed out in discussion format led by a WAC elder. Groups will also spend Sunday with a house church to experience the simplicity and love in the gatherings here and do evangelism with some of our leaders.

10 day: Compared to the 4 day, this session will be more focused on living out the values that are discussed.  Rather than just talking about the importance of loving each other, we desire to have each group experience depth of love for each other in order to show what is possible and how it can be pursued in the context of the local church.  Our hope is to talk through practically how one might go about planting a church and walk through that process together.



4-Day Intensive

Cost $350 (housing not included)

*Housing available for $40 per night

Upcoming Dates:

August 19-22

September 2-5

September 9-12

September 16-19**

September 23-26**

**Limited housing available

10-day Intensive

Cost $750 (includes housing)

* $550 for students, missionaries, and married couples

Upcoming Dates:

September 19-October 4

October 9-18

October 23-November 1

November 6-15

We don't want money to be a barrier for anyone coming to the Church Intensive, if you are unable to raise the funds you can apply for a scholarship towards the program fee by filling out this application. Please ensure you have completed the program application before applying for a scholarship.

All other sessions are currently full. Due to high demand, we can only process applications for dates listed on this website. No other dates have been solidified, but once they are, they will be posted on this page. 

Are you wondering about the schedule? Other questions? See if they are answered here in our FAQ page:

Frequently Asked Questions