The thesis of this book is to teach church planters to plant a biblical church in a local culture. This is essentially what he means when he uses the word “missional” throughout the book. In the preface he actually defines missional as “taking the approach of a missionary – being indigenous to the culture, seeking to understand and learn, adapting methods to the mission field – but winding up in the biblical form of a church.”
The rest of the book simply unpacks the above thesis and definition. Stetzer walks the readers through the church planting process and all along the way he explains how to be a “missional” church planter. He explains how to understand the current culture and some of the different church planting models. One of his key points is to understand the difference between an attractional church plant and an incarnational church plant. Therefore, all of his suggestions about how to go about the church planting process have this distinction in view. Missional churches “desire to show the love and care of Jesus Christ in [their] contexts and be Jesus there” (162). Continue reading
This post is the second part of a two part series on the Holy Spirit and Church Planting. Click HERE to read the first post.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IN CHURCH PLANTING
There really are a number of useful methodological applications that we could make based off of what we saw from the book of Acts in the first post. For the purpose of this post it is best that we narrow our focus to one specific application. Consequently, the remainder of this post will focus on the relationship between making plans and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading
Is it possible to successfully plant a growing church in the eyes of the world and do it all without the power of the Holy Spirit? In Francis Chan’s book Forgotten God he argues that, “a group of talented, charismatic leaders can draw a crowd. Find the right creative team, musicians, and speakers, and you can grow any church. It doesn’t even have to be a Christian church…My point is that a growing and energetic gathering is not necessarily evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work.”
Chan is making a profound observation. Every week there are plenty of growing and energetic gatherings that are not a result of the Holy Spirit’s power. For example, thousands of Mormon, Muslim, Unitarian, and Jehovah’s Witness gather each week for worship. Sadly, in addition hundreds of dead “Christian” churches gather each week and almost all of these theologically liberal churches have denied the gospel.
Therefore, these realities indicate it is possible to successfully plant a growing church in the eyes of the world and do it all without the power of the Holy Spirit. If a growing and energetic gathering is not necessarily evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work, then what exactly is evidence of his work? In other words, what does it look like to plant a church by the power of the Holy Spirit? In this first post I hope to provide an answer to that question by looking the work of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. In the next post I will answer the “how” question. Namely, how does someone or a group go about planting a church that is led by the Holy Spirit? What are the methods and principles that must be applied to the church planting process to ensure that it is in fact the Spirit who is leading? If these posts accomplish its purpose then it will have clearly explained not only what spirit-led church planting looks like, but also how spirit-led church planting happens. Continue reading
Not every church planter needs to think hard about how to plant a multi-ethnic church. Many of them around the world will only be dealing with one people group, one culture, one nation, and one language. In these contexts, a multi-ethnic church is really not an option at all simply because there are not multiple ethnicities or cultures living in their communities. This is certainly stating the obvious, but it is an important point that needs to be established in the beginning of a paper advocating multi-ethnic church planting. We must remind ourselves of this reality because it protects us from making an idol of ethnic diversity. Faithfulness to God’s word is the most important goal of church planting—that may result in ethnic diversity or it may not.
In situations where ethnic diversity is not possible on a local level, these churches should focus their energy on reaching those whom God has placed in their community. In all other situations where ethnic diversity is possible, it should not only be desired but also intentionally pursued. A church or church planter that does not have a heart for all the different people in their community is out of line with the biblical norm . As Daniel Hays explains in his book From Every People and Nation: A Biblical Theology of Race:
The New Testament demands active unity in the Church, a unity that explicitly joins differing ethnic groups together because of their common identity in Christ…While there may be practical and sociological reasons for creating and maintaining churches that are ethnic specific, this division into ethnically based worshipping communities is contrary to the imperatives of Paul.
“Call to me and I will answer you.” – Jeremiah 33:3
I have now lived in our new home in Chicago for two weeks and today I was able to meet several new people. I should have many good opportunities to see all of these people again and work on building relationships with them.
This was a very clear and specific answer to a prayer I prayed earlier today. I plan to share more of the story in the October newsletter, but for now will you join me in praying for opportunities to share the gospel with the following people:
* Daniel * Armando * Anthony * Terrell * Tom
Thank you for praying! Phill
Thesis & Outline
The thesis of this book is most clearly stated in the introduction of the book. Thompson states, “This book…is a trumpet call to muster our forces and at the same time deals with the philosophy and practical principles that make any ministry in the city successful. This book is a practical how-to book on growing a successful urban ministry” (xix). Several of Thompson’s chapters directly support this thesis.
In the first two chapters he provides the foundation of the book and explains both the biblical and philosophical need for ministering in urban areas. Then in chapters three and four Thompson gets more practical and shares basic biblical principles that he believes are missing in urban ministries today. The next two chapters, five and six, Thompson shares some principles and how-to’s on personal discipleship. He believes that personal discipleship is the most effective tool he has used in urban ministry in the last thirty years. Continue reading
The thesis of Neil Cole’s book Search & Rescue: Becoming A Disciple Who Makes A Difference is to present a principles, values, and a methodology of discipleship that will produce disciple makers reproduce healthy disciple makers.
The first part of the book is based upon the apostle Paul’s second letter to Timothy and in this part Cole unpacks the biblical principles and values that form the proper framework for discipleship. Some of his key points include having the proper motivation for discipleship and understanding the importance of multiplication. He uses the word “hero” throughout the book to refer to disciples because he believes it more clearly communicates what God has called us to do when he saved and rescued us. We are now to save and rescue others. However, just like a trained lifeguard we should not just run out into the ocean without preparing ourselves. Continue reading