Planting for the Gospel: A Book Review

Title:  Planting for the Gospel:  A Hands on Guide to Church Planting
Author:  Graham Beynon
Publisher:  Christian Focus
Pages:  121

Since my college days, I have been fascinated with the idea of church planting.  This is true pioneering in an age when many churches are dying out or slowing being made irrelevant by their own instance on tradition and man-centered theology.  So, I was excited when I was asked to join the blog tour for Planting for the Gospel.

My first thought after completing this book is that the title is a bit misleading.  When I read, “Planting for the Gospel” I expect some treatment of the gospel.  That is missing in this book.  The message of the church is not covered within these pages.  That was unfortunate. 

However, while this book is certainly not a comprehensive guide to church planting, it is a worthwhile read to anyone considering get involved with a church plant or even thinking about the topic in general.  Chapter one lays out a great Biblical motivation for churches to be about the business of planting other churches.  The remainder of the first half of the book gives you several possible models to follow and options to consider while planting your church.  Mr. Beynon does not give much in the way of opinion as to his thoughts as to which model is best.

The second half of the book fits nicely with the first half as we are allowed to watch each of these different models at work in actual situations.  Beynon shows us case study after case study of church plants both in England and here in the U.S.  However, these are very short case studies without a lot of information.  Yet, a church website is given at the end of each study in case you would like to follow-up and receive more details.

Some various points of agreement and disagreement:

Pages 49-50 – It seems as though the need for a written Constitution is downplayed.  In an age where anyone is a plaintiff, it seems unwise not to have a church Constitution as early as possible.  I would think as soon as the church begins to meet regularly and expand, a written constitution containing office doctrine, policies and membership requirements should be adopted as soon as possible.

Page 52 – When considering where to plant your church the author writes, “There can sometimes be nervousness about stepping into another church’s ‘patch’.  We should be respectful and communicate well, but we must also remember that there are so many people around who need to hear the gospel we are very unlikely to cramp each other’s style.”  I could not agree more.  Amen!

Page 55 – Many small churches struggle in the area of children’s ministry.  As one who has been on staff of two small churches, I have witnessed first hand how some families will never consider a small church without a thriving ministry for their kids.  But, this book reminds us of “…the prime responsibility of parents in teaching and training their children.”   In other words, this should not prevent one from joining a church plant.  Again, a hearty Amen!

Page 56 – Does a young church need a pastor?  Beynon says no.  “…There is no need for a pastor.  What there is, is a need for leadership, teaching and pastoral oversight.  The key question is whether or not those things are in place, rather than assuming they need to be delivered through a paid staff member.”  I agree with the sentiment behind this, but with great caution.  Yes, I don’t believe a new church plant needs a full-time, paid pastor or leader, but leadership should be established early.  Elders are apart of a healthy church.  This, of course, depends on the model of the church plant.  If this is one church planting another, then at the beginning the mother church my assume much of the leadership responsibilities.  But, at some point, a clear distinction between mother and daughter churches much be established and that would be through the leadership. 

Overall, the book is short and divided into easy-to-read chapters that make it an enjoyable read.  The information is valuable and thought-provoking but not comprehensive.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.


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