Thursday, October 30, 2008

Planting Churches in the Real World -- Joel Rainey

[I have come into an extra copy of this book. If you would like to try for it, please click this link and take a stab at the question in a comment on my other blog.]

©2008 Missional Press, Smyrna, DE

Church planting is the way to go for young (and not-so-young) preacher types these days. The younger generation wants to make its mark on the world, and the older fellows have come to their wits’ end trying to get the church to do what’s right. The answer? Start your own church, then you can start get them doing right from the very start, set up your rules and make all the members play by them. Joel Rainey, Director of Mid-Maryland Baptist Association located near Washington, D.C. and experienced church planter has something to say to those who would jump in with the idea that they are looking at an easy task. That something is, “Think again!”

Planting Churches in the Real World is the kind of book that church planting circles have needed for a long time. Rainey speaks frankly and candidly about the hard work and often disappointing results that accompany starting churches from the ground up. He includes practical advice about how to go about choosing location and leadership. He warns against trusting in numbers, but encourages church planters and would-be church planters to watch for signs of steady, healthy growth.

With a host of books lining the shelves of bookstores that are written by big-name mega-church planters, it is easy to get the idea that within the first year of launching a church one should see upwards of 100 regular attenders, and within five years you ought to be pushing 1000. This, asserts Rainey, is the exception and not the rule. The majority of church planters work long hours for little reward, and to have that first 100 within the first three years is doing well. This should encourage those who are in the process of planting a new church and not seeing throngs of their target group bursting through the door of their rented storefront.

I liked this book. I like the writing style and pace. I like the candor of the examples brought straight from the author’s own church planting experience. I like the size of the book (approximately 150 pages). I would suggest that it be the first must read for someone who feels the calling to plant churches. I also find that it would be a perfect main textbook for a church planting course at any Bible College or Seminary. Even more, I believe that much of what is suggested for the church planter should be given ear by the local pastor who would like to see his “already planted” church show signs of health and growth. The principles are the same whether starting from scratch or building on a previously laid foundation.

For those who want to plant churches, hear Rainey’s words:

Of all the things I have been privileged to do in my sixteen years of ministry, church planting was by far the most enlightening educational, rewarding, heartbreaking, health-threatening, marriage-testing, glorious, faith-building, faith-testing, fulfilling, challenging, daunting, empowering, sweat-producing, excruciating, wonderful, God-glorifying thing I have ever done!

This one is a keeper—and a book to refer to time and again when going through the process of helping churches become all that they can be. I give it four out of five reading glasses.

Benjamin Potter, October 30, 2008

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Sold! I'd love to read this one. Thanks for the review.

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