Urban Leadership Development 103

Within the inner city context, there are typically a plethora of social, psychological, economic, and structural issues that hinder the development of indigenous leadership. The hope is that they’d steer the helm in the local urban churches, in the coming years, while we intentionally cultivate their leadership gifts. However, we need to be given to the task of developing transplanted leaders who serve in the context faithfully.

When brothers and sisters display a pattern of faithfulness and demonstrate teachability over a period of time, urban pastors should begin a formal leadership process with them.

My hope is that your church is busting at the seams with faithful men and women who earnestly desire intentional training and that you are committed to developing a process that helps cultivate their leadership abilities. If that’s you, I want to provide you with a simple framework that will help you develop a new generation of leaders.

Why Develop Leaders

Leadership development is designed to bring members who have the desire to grow to a place of spiritual health and maturity, from which they will be able to engage in fruitful and faithful ministry for the edification of the Church and the building of the Kingdom.

In the leadership development process, our hope is that through the study of scripture, prayerful dependence on the Spirit, and fostering the practice of spiritual disciplines that leaders will grow in maturity as they make disciples.

In the process, we want to provide theologically robust content with contextualized practical applications aimed at providing leaders with the tools needed to be effective in urban ministry.

Creating A Leadership Cohort

After identifying faithful, available, teachable leaders, create a process where they can collectively track tangible ministry competencies, and personally invite them into the process.

When beginning the process of leadership development we should consider engaging the head, hands, and heart.

Key questions to consider include but are not limited to: What do developed disciples look like in the urban context? What competencies should they gain from such a process? What character issues should be addressed throughout the process? The process must have a clearly defined vision and a mission that details not only goals but also the means to accomplish established goals.

I suggest developing a cohort program that incorporates theologically sound doctrine along with practical application. The vision should entail the development of tangible ministry competencies.  Below is a sample process that you shape into being your own leadership process.




Instructor: _____________

Email: _________________

Office Hours: ____________

Phone Number: __________


 The inner city church desperately needs spiritually mature men and women to serve in ministry positions with solid theological grounding, practical expertise, and relational community connectivity while maintaining a Christocentric worldview. Sadly, many leaders launch into the choppy waters of church ministry with unrefined skill and a lack of resources.

LEAD 101 is intended to provide intentional training for those in ministry positions who desire to grow theologically, cultivate robust ministry practices, and develop as mature, spiritually healthy disciples of Christ through the study of scripture, prayerful dependence on the Spirit, and fostering the practice of spiritual disciplines. The theologically robust content with practical application is aimed at providing you with the tools needed to be effective in inner city ministry. My hope is that you grow and that God uses this cohort as a means to help you become theologically fit and spiritually mature (Col. 1:28).


  • Develop effective leadership gifts, personality, call, context
  • To build a theologically sound foundation
  • Observe qualitative growth in ministry competence
  • Establish a Christocentric worldview

At the completion of this cohort, you should be able to:

  • Teach your own leadership cohort
  • Effectively disciple people within your context
  • Have a practical approach to study the scripture


  1. Cohort Attendance and Thoughtful Participation
    1. I’m calling each of you all to high commitment for this 10-month cohort program. You’re only allowed to miss one class per cohort, and you must get the notes from another member prior to the next class.
    2. There will be many opportunities for class participation so I’d ask that you thoughtfully engage each topic that we’ll discuss in class as we review some of the material that you’ve read.
    3. Please bring laptops, pads, pens, etc. to take notes.
  2. Monthly Reading
    1. Prior to you attending the class, I’m asking that you’ve completed the reading so that we can thoughtfully engage the topic together. It’s important that we’re on the same page with one another. Although many books aren’t assigned, I’d like you to read them until their completion.
  3. Writing Assignment
    1. Each month you are required to write a 500-750-word review of the assigned reading. It will be due prior to the next cohort meeting. I want you to ask yourself: (1) What’s the Christological implication? (2) How can this be applied to my life? (3) How can I improve my service to the church? (Excluding February)
    2. I will review each submission and provide some feedback. Please email all papers to pastorernie@epiphanycamden.org.
  4. Retreat
    1. At the end of the 10-month cohort, we’ll have a retreat to celebrate the completion of what the Lord has done. It should be a wonderful time of fellowship.


English Standard Version Bible

Driscoll, M. & Breshears, B. (2010). Doctrine: What Christians Should Know. Wheaton Il: Crossway


Rainer, T. (2013). I AM A CHURCH MEMBER: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference. Nashville, TN.: B&H Publishing

Keller, T. (2009). Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power and the Only Hope That Matters. New York, NY: Dutton



Introduction, What is the Gospel? Trinity (Review)

Required Reading:

Doctrine – Preface, Chapter 1

MARCH 20__

Developing a Biblical Worldview Pt. 1

Required Reading:

Doctrine- Chapters 2 & 3, Member- Chapter 1

APRIL 20__

Developing A Biblical Worldview Pt. 2

Required Reading:

Doctrine- Chapters 4 & 5, Counterfeit – Chapter 1

MAY 20__

Understanding The Biblical Covenants Pt. 1

Required Reading:

Doctrine – Chapters 6 & 7, Member- Chapter 2, Counterfeit – Chapter 2

JUNE 20__

Understanding The Biblical Covenants Pt. 2

Required Reading:

Doctrine- Chapter 8 & Counterfeit – Chapter 3

JULY 20__

Understanding the Church

Required Reading:

Doctrine- Chapter 9, Member – Chapter 3, Counterfeit – Chapter 4


Understanding Worship

Required Reading:

Doctrine – Chapter 10, Member – Chapter 4, Counterfeit – Chapter 5


Gospel Stewardship

Required Reading:

Doctrine – Chapter 11, Member – Chapter 5, CounterfeitChapter 6


The Kingdom of God

Required Reading:

Doctrine – Chapter 13, Member – Chapter 6, Counterfeit – Chapter 7

November 20__
Finalize Details of Retreat


Ernest Cleo Grant, II

Ernest Cleo Grant, II (@ernestcleogrant) is the Lead Pastor of Epiphany Fellowship Church of Camden, a graduate of Reformed Seminary (D.C.), and is currently completing his Doctorate of Education from Stockton University. He and his wife Sarah have been married for almost a decade and have two children( Amaela and Chancellor). He's an avid reader, a community advocate, and has bylines in The Witness, Christianity Today, The Star-Ledger, Desiring God, and other publications

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