Crete Collective church-planting network announces pastor John Onwuchekwa as co-director

Onwuchekwa will help lead new network focused on planting churches in

Black and brown communities

WASHINGTON — The Crete Collective church-planting network today announced the appointment of its second staff member, Pastor John Onwuchekwa, as co-director. The Crete Collective was launched in November 2020 to plant, revitalize and support churches in neighborhoods and communities with high concentrations of Black and brown residents, historically neglected by the modern Christian church planting movement in America. 

Pastor John Onwuchekwa was born and raised in Houston, Texas, but currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. He serves as the teaching pastor of Cornerstone Church, located in the city’s Historic West End district. In his new role as co-director, Mr. Onwuchekwa will oversee the development of content and pastoral coaching and training for the Crete Collective.  He looks forward to designing resources specifically related to the questions, opportunities, and challenges facing Black and brown neighborhoods. 

“I’m very thankful for John’s experience in church planting and the opportunities we have ahead under John’s leadership to form a true Collective,” said Dennae Pierre, co-director of The Crete Collective. “There is a great opportunity to bring together church planters who are committed to a particular context and particular neighborhoods in order to identify, curate, and create resources to strengthen the church in specific neighborhoods.”

Mr. Onwuchekwa also uses entrepreneurship as a tool for community restoration. He and his team began Portrait Coffee in Historic West End with the hopes of bringing careers and opportunities to a neighborhood in need. His goal has always been to bring meaningful change to his community, and he looks forward to helping some of The Crete Collective church planters become innovators in their neighborhoods. Additionally, Pastor John holds an MA from Dallas Theological Seminary. Alongside co-director Denna Pierre, he will steward the vision, mission, and overall advancement of The Crete Collective. 

“I’m most excited about having the conversations that affect the communities we’re a part of,” said Pastor Onwuchekwa. “Some of our best and brightest minds have spent their brilliance on creating an apologetic for why this work is necessary. While I’m grateful for their work, I’m excited about being a part of moving the conversations forward. I look forward to bringing some of our brightest minds and most diligent practitioners together to explore solutions to the problems our communities are facing, as opposed to using their brilliance mainly to convince people there is a problem. I can’t wait to begin telling our stories, chronicling our histories, and creating content that will help us thrive in the contexts we’re rooted in.”

Pastor John Onwuchekwa was among the initial group of pastors who founded The Crete Collective.  Other founders include Pastors Thabiti Anyabwile (Anacostia River Church in Washington, DC), Darryl Williamson (Living Faith Bible Fellowship in Tampa), Louis Love (New Life Fellowship in Vernon Hills, IL), Jeremy McClain (Mercy of Christ Fellowship Church in Washington, DC), and Aaron Reyes (Hope Community Church in Austin, TX). The name “Crete” comes from Titus 1:5 and Paul’s letter to Titus about remaining in Crete to plant churches.

The Crete Collective aims to plant at least six churches within the next two years (2021-2022). In addition to planting, the network will support declining historic congregations in their return to vitality. Because these communities face physical, financial, and social needs, the network churches will be active in holistic discipleship, including Gospel-informed service, support for family formation, job and wealth creation efforts, and justice.

Partner churches that financially support the Crete Collective come from all backgrounds and locations and are not required to be located in neighborhoods of focus. However, new church plants will be located inside neglected neighborhoods and communities. Churches, Christian leaders, and individuals who have a passion for this vision are invited to join this collective as a member church, a financial partner, or a church planter.



D.J. Jordan

Pinkston Public Relations


[email protected]


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.

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