Last summer, I began a coaching relationship at Grace with a young man sensing a call to plant a church in his urban neighborhood. He is a sharp, articulate, and gifted brother who has not received any formal theological training. In order to gain a better understanding of his theological bearings, I created what I called a church planters “core prolegomena.”
In major theological treatises, a prolegomenon consists of introductory remarks or preliminary statements addressing the treatise. In a practical way, the church planter’s core prolegomena is intended to be a preliminary theological treatment of the kind of teaching and training he would receive through our church-based apprenticeship and eventually residency, should he continue for the full two years. So the way the core prolegomena serves the church planter is that it gives him opportunity to get grounded on some key components of a well-rounded theologian, churchman, and missionary, providing him a more sure footing in moving forward.
Though it is not entirely finished, I created six “modules” for the CPCP. Each module is intended to last two weeks, and the amount of work and study is no walk in the park. We covered the six modules over the course of the summer, and it proved to be a very profitable experience for me as a coach and for my emerging apprentice.
Each module is thematic/topical and consists of the following:
* Read 1-2 theological articles and write a summary review of each article
* Read 1 book and write a critical review
* Listen to 5-6 messages/sermons and evaluate argument and points of each message
At the end of each two-week period, I would spend three hours going over the module and the work it involved. What I’m looking for is how he engaged the material, internalized it, and applied it to his thinking and philosophy of ministry and mission. Going through these modules, the idea is that they would provide a strong theological “core” for the preliminary theological competency needed in planting a gospel-centered church.
Below are the PDF’s of the first six modules I created last summer. I’ve passed these out through PLNTD relational communities and have heard how churches are using them, so I thought others might be interested as well. Feel free to take them, edit them, and use them as you wish. I plan to revise and add to my own in the future. Here they are:
Module 1: The Nature of the Gospel
Module 2: The Centrality of the Gospel
Module 3: The Nature of the Church
Module 4: Christian Ministry
Module 5: The Doctrine of Salvation
Module 6: Biblical Theology
I’d love to get your thoughts and any feedback on how I could improve upon the CPCP. If you use these modules, I’d love to hear how they are helpful or are being employed in your context.