Church planting is a big endeavor. Church planters need to be pioneering and adaptable. Motivated and relational. They must be students of scripture and the context to which they’ve been called. And it can be a strain on their finances, emotions and families. That’s why Redeemer City to City (CTC) works so intentionally with church planters—from recruitment to launch date and beyond.
Incubator is CTC’s key two-year program to serve, train and develop church planters. It provides church planters with in-depth training and practical help with writing their action plan, clarifying the philosophy of ministry, crucial ministry development and preaching. Incubator is delivered to church planters in target cities through local trainers.
So, where do these local trainers come from, and how do they effectively deliver this vital training to church planters who are preparing to launch their congregations?
Last month, 18 church planters and network leaders gathered in the CTC office for a three-day Train the Trainer (TTT). It is through this program that leaders learn how to take the Incubator material back to their local context and train future church planters.
John Thomas, Senior Director of Training, and Mark Reynolds, Vice President of Operations and Leadership Programs for CTC led the training, which employed four unique approaches used in all CTC trainings.
Four Components of CTC Training
1. Start with the gospel.
Church planters are often eager to get answers or a formula from experts, but starting with a focus on the gospel is always important, because as John Thomas asks, “Who is preaching to the pastor?” We all need to hear the gospel—repeatedly, and ministry leaders can’t begin to apply the gospel to their context without grounding themselves in the gospel first.
2. Learn from those around you.
Participants are sharing their stories throughout training. Mark explains, “When I know someone’s story, I am less likely to fill in the gaps. I understand why they responded with a particular emotion. I am a better friend, a better learner, a better human with them.” Learning from others also acknowledges that no one person has all of the answers when it comes to church planting. Instead, trainers and participants can apply the gospel to their weaknesses and trust God.
3. Focus on the learner before the content.
More than knowing the content, trainers focus on creating an experience that helps church planters learn. They come alongside the new church planter and guide them in connecting the content to their specific context. It’s less about telling them what to do and more about giving participants new ways to think. By doing so, training is more than reading and lecturing. The experience is made richer as the trainer senses what the learner is processing.
4. Trust silence as space for reflection.
“Reflection time cements the experience and the knowledge together for the trainee,” says John Thomas. Throughout training, there is regular reflection time and silence, and John encourages this time to “play itself out. Be comfortable with this time. You never know how God may be working on someone.”
The 18 ministry leaders who attended Train the Trainer will now go out and train church planters in global cities, such as New York City, Buenos Aires, and Mexico City. Starting new churches is the best way to reach a city with the gospel, and through programs like Incubator and Train the Trainer, more church planters are equipped to answer this call.