As I’ve said previously, I’m in the beginning stages of planting a church in Nashville Tennessee. That being the case, I’ve been reading everything about the subject that I can get my hands on as I prayerfully formulate the vision for the church. Deep Church by Jim Belcher was helpful. Vintage Church by Mark Driscoll is a wonderful book. Francis Chan’s Forgotten God provided a needed reminder that I must (and frankly long to) operate out the of the power that only the Holy Spirit provides. And my latest read, Church Planter by Darrin Patrick, has been a much needed encouragement and reminder about what it is I’m supposed to be doing.
Patrick lays out the book in three sections: The Man, The Message, and The Mission. I immediately connected with the first section. Personally speaking, I needed to be reminded and encouraged about my call to ministry and my call to church planting. Patrick helped me to do this. Section two of the book, the Message, was a good reminder of what the gospel is and how it needs to be preached. I was less moved by this section of the book, but simply because most of its content is material that I’ve been swimming in for quite some time. Section three was my second favorite part of the book (after section one). I grew up hearing only a 50% gospel message. I mean, I grew up hearing how Jesus died and rose again and how that should transform me morally, but I heard very little about how that message is supposed to send us on mission into our cities and communities. The mission I mainly heard was, “tell people how to get saved.” But the culture-transforming, missional-lifestyle aspects of the gospel were rarely touched upon. And yet the Bible calls it the “gospel of the kingdom.” It’s a message about how to be saved yes, but the saved are sent on mission to not only preach salvation but transform cultures and communities and families. I don’t want to say that I never heard anything of this sort growing up, but it definitely wasn’t a key feature of the Christianity that I was accustomed to. Men like Driscoll and Keller and Patrick continue to add clarity to my thinking in this area.
This is a great book, and honestly it’s usefulness goes way beyond church planting. If church members read this book and embraced its words, Godly pastors would rejoice at the wave of momentum that would occur.