Planting Growing Churches for the 21st Century – Book Review

Dr. Malphurs believes that the most successful and proficient way to reach non-believers is to plant new christian mysticism churches. In his book, he used the analogy of child-bearing to illustrate the process including, conception, birth, growth, maturation, and reproduction.

He divides his book in three essential parts. The first part concerns the preparation for church planting and everything that encompasses. In the first chapter, the author defined the definition of church planting “as an exhausting but exiting venture of faith that involves the planned process of beginning and growing new local churches, based on Jesus’ promise and in obedience to his Great Commission” (p. 19). Dr. Malphurs believes church planters are makers not maintainers of the common status quo. He believes the day of maintenance ministry has already passed. The job of the church planter is not an easy work; it demands more mental, emotional, and physical effort than maintaining a church ministry. The process of church planting requires a lot of faith in God. It involves a process like that of giving birth to a new child. It requires a careful plan. It involves both beginning and growing churches. It is a call in a response to the Great Commission.

There is need for church planting, for studies show that many of the churches in North American are either plateau or declining. There are a number of increased cults and non-Christian faiths all across North America. The church cannot keep up with the increase of these cults and the great decline and plateau churches unless it gets involves in church planting.

The author also provides financial information on how to raise funds to plant a church. He divides them in four facts; it begins with trust in God as provider. He also identified three ways on which a local congregation can grow. The first one, he identified as biological growth, which is the kind that take places when couples in the church have children, who then becomes members of the parents’ church. The second kind of growth is transfer growth, which is the result of church members moving from one church to another. The third kind of growth is numerically which is through conversion of lost people. It is estimated that a conversion rate of twenty 25% is necessary in order to make in impact in the world.

The second part concerns the personnel involve in church planting. It helps make a wise assessment to determine who can be a church planter and how effective those in the core group need to be for the work. He introduces the values of assessment, which involves knowing, liking, and being the person God designed to be. Everyone has a divine given design which was given to him/her at their birth and which characteristics have been modified in positive and negative way throughout the span of a lifetime. These assessments help in discovering the weakness, strengths, and limitations of the person being appraise. He also helps determines if the person involved in church planting is the kind of leader required to be a leading church planting. Church planters are to be strong leaders, as well as strong servant-leaders.

The third part examines the actual process involved in church plant. It contains essential chapters that are designed to help church planters understand the six stages that a new church go through and what essentially takes place in each of them. The stages are the conception, development (prenatal stage), birth, growth, maturity, and reproduction stage. The conception stage starts with the nucleus of the ideal of birthing a church. The way a baby is conceived in its mother’s womb, so the idea of starting a new church is conceived in the person’s mind. “Every church has its own DNA (its values, mission, vision, strategy, and so on) that guides its life and growth” (p. 118). The first step to consider is prayer, before any attempt is given to planting a church; it is recommended to put together an intercessory team throughout the process.

The author believes it is important to put together a core-group during the conception stage to discover the church’s core organizational values, which are to be the church’s planter’s core values. Dr. Malphurs describe the core values as “its constant, passionate, biblical core beliefs that drive it ministry (p. 119).” After that a mission statement most be develop to dictate the direction the ministry is to take. The mission most includes all the church is attempting to accomplish for God. The next point is to communicate the mission statement to the people been minister.

A strategy also needs to be conceived. The strategies will determine the process of accomplishing the vision and mission of the new church. The developmental stage begins by gathering an initial core group of people who are interested in forming part of the new church. Dr. Malphurs also explains the primary purpose of the birth stage, is to provide an opportunity to reach out the geographical community for Christ.

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