Training Urban Leaders to Engage the City

Incubator is a one-year program to serve, train, and develop church planters and church leaders who promote church planting in Metro KL.

Each learning module addresses the specific needs of urban planters, including skills in thinking theologically about ministry, and growth in the various areas of urban ministry. It is designed for church planters to go through the program during the critical phase of launching their congregations. Although it is designed for church planters, the material is also great for developing mission-minded church leaders. They get practical help on writing their action plan, the philosophy of ministry, crucial ministry development, and preaching, among other topics. Ideally, this training is accompanied by coaching to encourage the planters to perform to the maximum extent of their giftedness.

Training Style

An effective urban church planter / leader must be proficient in 4 critical competency domains:

  • Living inter-connectedly with a gospel dynamic (Personal—Interpersonal domain)

  • Communicating grace and truth in a way that forms and engages disciples (Prophetic domain)

  • Creating a missional culture (Priestly domain)

  • Executing visionary leadership (Kingly domain)

Each Incubator learning module involves time for peer-to-peer coaching, personal spiritual formation, application of ideas to real-world problems and hands-on training that combines both theology, church planting theory and insights from adult learning theory.

The training involves 8 modules, each one involving reading, ministry exercises, and 8 hours of classroom engagement.

To be invited into an Incubator training cadre, it is preferred that the participant be involved in an urban church plant or have ministry involvement in an existing church.

Each session contains three primary elements

1. Gospel community building. This involves:

  • A time for planters to get to know each other and bring the problems they face to the learning community for support and counsel;

  • Gospel dynamics addressing the practicalities of gospel living and

  • Kingdom-centered prayer with and for one another.

2. Theologically informed thinking.

  • Research has indicated that a key competency for church planters and pastors is “reflective practice” (some call this ortho-praxis), which is the ability to apply the insights of theology and the social sciences to the everyday concerns of ministry life.

3. New skill training.

  • Each session is designed to strengthen the core competencies required for church planting.

Course Details

*Subject to Change

1. Developing a Gospel Lens for Ministry

The objective of this first session is to lay out the idea of a theological vision, a term which Richard Lint uses to refer to the “middle ware” that translates doctrinal foundations to ministry expressions. A theological vision connects doctrinal beliefs with outward, hopeful ministry expressions. Helping church planters understand, work through, and define theological vision is the core work of what GCN tries to do during the Incubator.

You will Learn

  1. What a theological vision encompasses. 

  2. Why ministry expression differs for churches having the same doctrine.

  3. How ministries are influenced by external forces that had shaped church planters.

  4. How ministry expressions may be in or apart from Christ.

  5. How ministries can be developed through a gospel lens.

  6. How to design and develop a unique philosophy of ministry based on an understanding of target audience, local culture, and theological vision.  


2. Gospel Thread – Grand Narrative of the Bible

This module focuses on understanding how the work of Jesus Christ changes everything we are and do, as individuals, as a community, and as ministers of God’s grace, as opposed to “just trying harder” to apply biblical principles to my life. Though the gospel is the life-giving message of redemption that we always preach, as well as the dynamic that causes on-going redemption in our lives and communities, few pastors understand how to consistently apply it to their life and work.

You will Learn

  1. A holistic understanding of the gospel.

  2. Why the gospel is necessary for everyday life.

  3. Biblical summaries of the non-negotiables of the gospel messages.

  4. How the gospel saves (past, present, and future).

  5. The Gospel as a Story.

  6. The Gospel as a way of life for believers.

3. Grace Renewal in the Church and Believers

It’s not enough just to understand the gospel; we need to be constantly experiencing the renewing work of Jesus Christ, making us new and sending us as people in his redemptive mission. This is one important area of caring for the church planter’s personal life that cannot be ignored. An effective leader knows how to do self-leadership and self-care before he or she leads others. This module helps participants experience gospel renewal centered around repentance from the reality of indwelling sin (idolatry) as well as joyfully resting in the Father’s adoptive love. It also helps the leaders understand his or her unique leadership style for effective kingdom work.

You will Learn

  1. The need for continual and deep spiritual renewal. 

  2. Renewal is hindered by minimization of the work of the cross.

  3. What happens in the cycle of gospel renewal for daily inward transformation: owning and disowning our sins.

  4. Important components of the renewal framework.

  5. To differentiate renewal at the level of the heart vs behaviour.


4. Sharing the Gospel in Relevant Ways to your Church Plant

This module focuses on understanding the unique globalized, urban context in which we live and how that understanding can help us communicate and develop ministry forms which are meaningful to the people we are reaching. Far from ‘capitulating’ to culture or ‘watering down’ the gospel, contextualization aims to make Christ alive and dynamic in the given situation where you are planting your church.

You will Learn

  1. Urban exegesis with church planting in mind so you know your city geographically, demographically, historically, as well as culturally and religiously.

  2. The role/goal cultural relevance plays in reaching a target group. 

  3. The danger of under or over contextualization.

  4. The essence of Contextualization – to present the gospel in a relevant way.

  5. Factors to consider in making the gospel relevant to your target group.

  6. How Paul presented one gospel differently in relevant ways to different target groups.

5. Planting Urban Churches – Framework and Models

There is a lot of talk today about “being missional”. Practically, what does that mean for a new church? This module helps participants understand the unique characteristics of ministry in the global city and helps them develop a balanced, missional culture in their church so that the good news of Jesus is expressed in every element of church life and reaches out in holistic ministry.

At the end of the session, you will:

  1. Understand the biblical teaching on the local church.

  2. Explore the main purposes of local church communities. 

  3. Learn how church can be done to prioritize these purposes.

  4. Understand the role of the church in the community. 

  5. Consider what an embryonic expression of the church looks like.

  6. To think through the bare minimum of being a church without layers of tradition.

  7. Consider various models of church in different contexts and cultures.

  8. To process the role of leaders in the context of a healthy missional church.

6. Outreaching and Connecting with Local Community

This module helps learners develop the skill of consistently and winsomely present Christ to others in new situations, so that communicating Christ becomes the culture of the new church. Emphasis is placed on developing “evangelistic pathways” and networks of relationships complemented with kingdom-centered prayer. Through prayers, the gospel renews us for what God is sending us to do.

You will Learn

  1. The multi-step pathway for people coming to know Christ.

  2. Paul’s evangelical strategies.

  3. Relationships as key to outreach and networking.

  4. Intentional networking that brings in the initial people needs to consider. 

  5. Preparation before, during and after the outreach events.

  6. Practical personal evangelism: CP and leaders living with a lifestyle of giving witness to Christ.

7. Gracious Conflict Resolution in the Field

In this module, church planters/leaders practice how to understand the conflict and differences of perspective that so commonly disrupts the life of young congregations and how to bring truthful and powerful communication skills to the people they work with. Time is given to practicing how to have gracious and wise “difficult conversations” with a person with whom you need to interact with.

You will Learn

  1. The root cause of conflict.

  2. What causes the tension you feel in conflicts. 

  3. Different ways conflicts are handled in your culture.

  4. Your default mode of managing conflicts.

  5. The gospel-centered way of resolving conflicts.

  6. What biblical forgiveness involves.


8. Nurturing Leaders of Tomorrow

This module helps learners develop skill in understanding how people change through the application of grace and truth as well as how to develop programs for spiritual formation and leadership development. Effective church planters and pastors are leaders of gifted Christians who do the work of ministry. Thus it is important for church planters to know how to assess people’s strengths and weaknesses and how to develop systems of relational training and oversight that guide people to their place of most effective ministry and beyond.

You will Learn

  1. Discipleship/Developing leaders exposes our inadequacies.

  2. The biblical foundation of discipleship.

  3. The process of discipleship and what it involves.

  4. Aspects of Situational Leadership Model used to nurture leaders.

  5. Leadership development: Moving through the levels of leadership.