At the 2011 District Conference each church was presented with complimentary access to the resources of The Mission Exchange. I hope you benefited from their services during the year and renewed your subscription with them. If you didn’t, let me encourage you to. Since then, The Mission Exchange and CrossGlobal link merged, forming Missio Nexus. You can visit their website here. Access for individuals starts at under $30. The services include:

  • 52 book reviews (electronically delivered – 1 per week)
  • 36 book summaries (electronically delivered – 3 per month)
  • 24 live webinars (average 2 per month)
  • 12 author interviews (monthly mp3 downloads)
  • 6 Global Issues Updates (bi-monthly downloadable webinar)
  • 3 Web Workshops (4-6 week training series)
  • discounted access to the most extensive library of mission-focused webinars in the English language
  • discounted access to three annual live conferences

Accessing their services just for the book summaries is well worth the cost. Below is a sample from the April edition of Leader’s Edge Book Summary of Global Church Planting. Each book summary includes the content of the book by category of:

  • Best chapter
  • Best quotes
  • Best illustration
  • Best idea
  • Best take away
  • Recommendation

Global Church Planting
Biblical Principles and Best Practices for Multiplication

Authors: Craig Ott and Gene Wilson

Publisher: Baker Academic, 2011, also available in Kindle format
ISBN: 0801035805

Summary

Global Church Planting is a comprehensive text on church planting that is up to date, has a strong biblical foundation and is very practical. The book is filled with church planting principles that are relevant both in North America and overseas. It focuses on how to start growing, healthy, impacting, culturally relevant and multiplying congregations. One strength is the use of many impacting stories from around the globe, as well as comparing specific aspects of models that have been proposed in recent years. The reader will get a strong overview of what others have written on church planting, as well as new insights from the authors themselves. This is a textbook full of knowledge for anyone starting out or already engaged in church planting. For the teacher of church planting, this can readily be your new class textbook.

 Best chapter

Chapter 6: “The Shape of the Church.”

This chapter helps church planters understand and select the basic church “shapes” and how to work with local believers in contextualizing church structures and ministries. The three basic prototypes of churches are described and supplemented with a helpful chart. The topic is then coupled with an introduction on contextualizing a church’s shape, structure, and ministry. The danger of not contextualizing, resulting in either a foreign, sterile or syncretistic church, is noted.

Best quotes

“Church planting is not only a spiritual undertaking; it is also a complex human undertaking. Many a church planter has been passionately committed but practically unprepared and naive, leading to unnecessary frustration and often failure.” (p. 10)

“The church planter can be assured (based on Mat. 16:18) that to engage in the task of church planting is to obey the expressed will of Christ. Christ himself will be the church builder.” (p. 21)

“Mission must be considered incomplete without the planting of churches among every people. Because disciples are to be made of all nations, the work of church planting cannot be considered completed until communities of disciples have been established among every people.” (p. 23)

“Church planting is where missiology and ecclesiology intersect. Unfortunately many missiologists and mission practitioners have a weak ecclesiology, as if mission can exist without the church or as if the church were a practical but imperfect and bothersome necessity. A mission-less church is no church, and a church-less mission is not biblical mission.” (p. 26)

“One of the most noteworthy features of Paul’s mission was his recruitment of coworkers from the various churches he planted. He recruits from the harvest for the next harvest.” (p. 50)

“Pioneer church planters must, like Paul, give careful attention to the purity of the gospel and to sound doctrine, especially when they are reaching people from a different worldview. There will invariably be those who attempt to water down, condition, expand, distort, or pervert the gospel message in some way.” (p. 56)

“The truth is that churches give birth to other churches. Living things that are healthy reproduce naturally as part of their life cycle. Churches often do not. They can grow to maturity, become numerically impressive, but remain sterile. Reproduction must be intentional if the local church is to accomplish the full purpose to which it has been called and created.” (p. 65)

“…we should not overestimate the power of contextualization nor put too much hope in our human designs. It is the gospel that transforms lives; and the point of contact is generally found in the marketplace of life, not in the assembled church – whatever its shape.” (p. 125)

“Church planting advance depends on both spiritual dynamics and human strategy. Prayer must infuse both for kingdom breakthroughs to take place.” (p. 180)

“Discipling that requires formal education or resources will stand in the way of total mobilization and multiplication; only discipling that is simple, organic, relational, and accessible to every believer will lead to multiplication.” (p. 234)

“Neil Cole has said, ‘If you can’t reproduce disciples, you can’t reproduce leaders. If you can’t reproduce leaders, you can’t reproduce churches. And if you can’t reproduce churches, you can’t reproduce movements.'” (p. 290)

“No amount of study, training, and experience can substitute for the call, leading, and power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of church planters. The assurance of God’s appointment gives a tremendous amount of confidence and staying power.” (p. 308)

“These three dimensions – the Great Commission, the Great Commandment and the Great Calling – constitute the fullness of what it means to be the church, the people of God’s choosing, a kingdom community. Different churches will evidence them in different measure, yet all must be present and each contributes to the other.” (p. 398)

Best illustration

“Church planting is a cooperative effort that requires unity of vision and a pooling of resources from many sources. Once the focus people group is adopted, it becomes much easier to raise a support team for the project. Building a financial and prayer support team is similar to erecting the support walls of a home. Support walls look like any other wall but must be strong and stable. They can never be removed, because the other walls and structures rest on them. When they are strong, almost any addition or renovation can be made.” (p. 179)

 Best idea

“The task of mission can be formulated as the creation and expansion of kingdom communities among all the peoples of the earth to the glory of God. The chief means of creating such communities are evangelism, and discipleship, which lead to the planting, growth, and multiplication of churches that manifest the reign of God in word and deed.” (p. 27)

 Best take away

“We suggest the “6-M” approach to the changing role of the apostolic church planter, progressing from motor to model, mobilizer, mentor, multiplier and finally memory. In a pioneer church-planting situation the planter begins as the motor because there are few if any other believers present who can be mobilized. But as soon as people become believers, the missionary begins to become more of a model, doing ministry in a manner that is easily copied by the new believers. He or she mobilizes them to take ownership of the ministry and mentors them in developing their ministry skills. The church planter mentors young believers and trains them to train others, at which point true multiplication of workers, and ultimately of churches, is being achieved. At this point the church planter can fully disengage from the church plant and thus become a memory…”

Recommendation

This is one of the most up-to-date and comprehensive books on church planting available today. We highly recommend it for anyone currently engaged in any way in church planting, or are planning on doing so. It is a one-stop resource for what one needs to know about church starting.

Visit Missio Nexus to learn more about their Leader’s Edge Book Summaries and their other resources.

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