Much of what is written about church planting aims at methodology and strategy for facing such challenges, but specific strategies do not apply to every context. What lies deeper, at the heart ofevery church plant?
The most critical human component of every church plant is the planter.
Darrin Patrick, vice president of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network, looks at what Scripture teaches about this man’s character, his teaching, and the aim of his church. Offering guidance and wisdom from years of experience, Patrick reminds us that ultimately no church will succeed apart from a man with a message who leads a church on a mission.
This book is for every Christian leader.
Church Planter is an essential resource for those considering planting a church or already in such a plant, and maybe even more important for those leading an established church. It has wide-ranging application for elders and leadership teams seeking to better understand how the gospel must take root in their church. Avoiding an over-emphasis on particular models or methods, Patrick lays out biblical principles and sound wisdom as he urges the church to return to biblical criteria for determining the man, the message, and the mission God uses to build his church.
About the Author
Matt Chandler (BA, Hardin-Simmons University) serves as lead pastor of teaching at the Village Church in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Acts 29 Network. He lives in Texas with his wife, Lauren, and their three children.
Read an Excerpt
A Rescued Man
No one, no matter how skilled an orator, how gifted a leader, or how extensive the theological pedigree, should endeavor to shepherd the church of Jesus without first having experienced the saving power of the Shepherd who is full of grace. While a pastor/church planter may be a good man or a talented man or a clever man, he must be, first and foremost, a rescued man. He must be a man who has been rescued from the slavery and foolishness of his own sin and saved by the freedom and "foolishness" of a God who displayed his perfect justice and love by laying down his life on behalf of the very ones who wronged him. The mandatory requirement and primary qualification for a man who desires to serve and lead in the name of Jesus is to have personally experienced forgiveness and acceptance from Jesus.
Unfortunately, you don't need extraordinary discernment to realize that many churches have a pastor who is trying to lead people to a Savior he has yet to personally encounter.
Many people make a tragic assumption that pastors and church planters must certainly be Christians. This assumption, however, overlooks the fact that it is possible, and for some remarkably easy, to fake the requisite gifts for ministry. A person can be a very gifted communicator, counselor, and leader without ever truly knowing Christ. In fact, Christ addressed this issue in Matthew 7:21–23 when he said:
Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?" And then will I declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness."
This is an amazing declaration. If it is possible to prophesy, cast out demons, and do many miracles in Christ's name without ever truly knowing him, then certainly it is possible to plant or lead a church without a saving relationship with him. If spiritual gifting is no proof of authentic faith, then certainly a job title isn't either. The Puritan pastor and theologian Richard Baxter writes about this reality very vividly:
O sirs, how many have preached Christ, and yet have perished for want of a saving interest in Him! How many, who are now in hell, have told their people of the torments of hell, and warned them to escape from it! How many have preached of the wrath of God against sinners, who are now enduring it! O what sadder case can there be in the world, than for a man, who made it his very trade and calling to proclaim salvation, and to help others to heaven, yet after all to be himself shut out!
"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves" (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Over the years, I have known several pastors who seemed to lack saving faith. I remember how one youth pastor with whom I was friends in college disclosed to me that he was in ministry primarily because he belonged to a great youth ministry in high school. He said that even though he doubted his own salvation, he was already "committed to professional ministry." Another guy I know planted a church largely, in his own words, to impress his dad. In a coaching appointment with me, he confessed that he was concerned that the counselor he was seeing was going to unearth the stunning reality that he had planted the church to gain not only his dad's favor but God's favor as well.
I could tell many similar stories. The point, for now, is that many people who involve themselves in helping professions (social work, counseling, and others) do so in order to solve some of their own problems. Such people use their service to others to gain healing for themselves. Many men do the same with the pastorate. This may sound noble in some regard; the more we serve others, the more we realize that they are actually serving us. I get it. The major difference in the pastorate, however, is that such men are seeking not only to help themselves but to save themselves.
One of my first mentors, Wayne Barber, whom God used to confirm my sense of calling into ministry, confessed in one of his sermons that he was not a Christian during the first few years of his ministry. He said that he became a pastor so he could earn God's favor. Wayne, like many others, was using ministry as a way to cover and atone for his own sin. He was trusting in what he was doing for God instead of trusting in what Christ had done for him.
Unfortunately, churches are often so desperate for leadership that they are willing to overlook character flaws in a leader, especially in a gifted one. People may think, He may not exhibit godly character, but he can preach the paint off of the wall ... he is a wonderful counselor ... he can inspire people to follow him! With the vast majority of churches declining or in plateau, gifted but unregenerate men become a prized commodity in the professional Christian economy.
Other churches simply aren't equipped to discern between a regenerate and an unregenerate leader. Sometimes a church's view of the pastorate has been so influenced by the bottom-line, grow-at-all-costs American business model that there is little or no emphasis on finding someone who has been called by God. In the past few years I have been asked to consult for several evangelical denominations and networks, as well as a few mainline denominations, regarding hiring, firing, and recruiting decisions. I have found that the main question both liberals and conservatives often start with is not, Is this man a Christian? but rather, Can this man grow the church? This lead question is revealing and alerts us to one reason why there are so many men who are planting and leading churches, yet who do not have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
Certainly there is an ethical concern when a man deceives the church about his own "credentials" for ministry. But it is more than just an ethical issue. The wellbeing of the church (and its pastor) is at stake. Consider what happens to a man who tries to lead or plant a church without first having been rescued from his sins. He will either feel beat up (condemned, insecure, and inadequate) or blown up (puffed up, arrogant, and proud), depending on whether the church is declining or growing. In either case the pastor/church planter who seeks to lead the church without first being rescued from his sins sets himself up for idolatry, heartache, and ultimate failure because he is using the church and his ministry as a means to save himself. Only the rescued man can truly serve Christ's church, because only the rescued man has an identity and motive for ministry outside of ministry itself.
However sad the final state of an unregenerate pastor may be, the final state of a church led by such a man is even worse. Though God sometimes mercifully uses preachers with false motives, the church under such a pastor generally suffers spiritually, communally, and missionally, and it eventually withers and dies. Most churches do not grow beyond the spiritual health of their leadership. Spurgeon's metaphors are helpful:
A graceless pastor is a blind man elected to a professorship of optics, philosophizing upon light and vision, discoursing upon and distinguishing to others the nice shades and delicate blendings of the prismatic colours, while he himself is absolutely in the dark! He is a dumb man elevated to the chair of music; a deaf man fluent upon symphonies and harmonies! He is a mole professing to educate eaglets; a limpet elected to preside over angels.
Simply put, a man who is a stranger to the things of God will be totally unable to teach them to others. Yet many pastors enter the ministry with serious doubts about their own salvation! Could this be one reason why thousands of churches will close their doors this year in North America and why the vast majority of North American churches are in plateau or decline?
Since being a rescued man is the foundational qualification for any aspiring pastor/church planter, and since no man can succeed in ministry without it, it is necessary to carefully consider what it means to be a rescued man before we rush on to discuss other qualifications.
What does it mean to be rescued? The Bible uses many words to describe the miracle of salvation: adoption, justification, redemption, reconciliation, etc. One picture that the Bible uses to describe this reality is that of new birth. Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). The term theologians often use to describe this new birth is regeneration. Regeneration refers to the in-planting of new spiritual life into the heart of a sinner, causing him or her to love God and others. J. I. Packer describes regeneration in this way: "The new birth or regeneration is an inner recreating of fallen human nature by the Holy Spirit. It changes the disposition from lawless, godless self-seeking into one of trust and love, of repentance for past rebelliousness and unbelief, and loving compliance with God's law henceforth. It enlightens the blinded mind to discern spiritual realities and liberates and energizes the enslaved will for free obedience to God." A rescued man has been reborn into this new spiritual life, which enables him to repent of his sin and trust in Christ's work on his behalf. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
It is also possible to describe what it means to be rescued by looking at what God does in the life of someone who has been truly rescued from his or her sins. In Matthew 22:37–40 Jesus taught that the entire Old Testament hangs on two short commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." A rescued man not only believes this truth at the heart and core of Christianity, but actually does love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, and as a result he seeks to love his neighbor as himself. A rescued man is a man whose love for God is growing holistically — in his affections, in his thoughts, in his motives, in his passions, in his duties, and in every area of his life. He is also a man who demonstrates a growing love for other people by sacrificing himself for others and laying down his life for their good. In short, a rescued man is growing in genuine love for God and neighbor.
A rescued man is also a man in whom the Holy Spirit is at work, producing the fruit of righteousness. In Galatians 5:22–24 the apostle Paul wrote, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." In the original Greek, the word "fruit" in verse 22 is singular. Paul is not listing a kind of spiritual menu by which some people choose love, others choose peace, others choose patience, and so on. Rather, all these qualities together constitute the fruit that a Christian man produces. A rescued man is a man who increasingly displays all of these qualities in his life — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
If you aspire to pastoral ministry, you must begin with an honest examination of your own salvation, your own rescue. Do not assume that you are a Christian just because you are or want to be a pastor. Jesus said that "many" who cast out demons in his name will not be saved (Matthew 7:22). Make sure you know for yourself the salvation you are proclaiming to others. Be willing to question your motives for ministry, and make sure you are not trying to earn God's favor. Salvation is the first and most important qualification for Christian ministry. Without it, nothing else is possible, and if you go into ministry without it, you will ruin yourself and those you seek to serve.
In the next chapter we will examine what a man who is qualified to lead the church looks like. Before that, however, please consider the following questions designed to help readers revisit their belief in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
1) Are you genuinely and currently trusting Christ to be both the forgiver of your sins and your only hope for eternal relationship with God?
2) Imagine standing before God, the righteous Judge of all people. In your mind, are you tempted to list your good deeds in defense of your salvation or are you aware that you are dependent on the work of Christ — his obedient life, sacrificial death, and powerful resurrection — for salvation?
3) Is there evidence of the Holy Spirit's work in your life and character?
a. Do you have a general sense that you are a true child of God? (See Romans 8:15-16; 1 John 4:13.)
b. Read Galatians 5:22-23. Are "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" characteristics that are being developed in you? Would those closest to you say they regularly see these traits in your life?
c. Read Matthew 7:16-20. Does your ministry bear good fruit? Are people and the church being built up, or is dissension and divisiveness a characteristic of your ministry?
4) If you are currently a pastor or church planter secure in your "rescued man" status, are you confident that those leading with you are believers in the true gospel of grace?
Ministry is not a profession. It is a vocation. ... One must be called in order to do it. Although pastors may struggle with exactly what it means to be called by God to lead a church, they must have some sense that they are in ministry because God wants them to be. Time and again, amid the challenges of pastoral ministry, this divine, more-than-subjective authorization is a major means of pastoral perseverance.
(William H. Willimon)
Do not enter the ministry if you can help it. If any student in this room could be content to be a newspaper editor, a grocer, a farmer, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a senator, or a king, in the name of heaven and earth, let him go his way. (Charles Spurgeon)
I believe God made me for a purpose ... but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure. (Eric Liddell)CHAPTER 2
A Called Man
Over 2,500 years ago God called a man named Jeremiah to be a prophet with these words: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." Yet the more Jeremiah followed God's call, the more he was mocked, ostracized, and persecuted by those to whom he spoke. He is often called "the weeping prophet" because of the depth of his struggle as a called man. Consider the calling of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was called to be a prophet. Most people think of a prophet as something like a fortune-teller — predicting the future, reading minds, and the like. And there is definitely evidence of forecasting and even seeing the future in visions throughout the Bible. But more often than not, a biblical prophet was one who spent as much time looking at the past and the present as they did looking into the future. A prophet was, and still is, one who examined the past and present in order to rebuke God's people for their sins and call them to covenant faithfulness to their God.
Jeremiah was that kind of a prophet. As he looked at the past and present condition of God's people, the future didn't look so good. What he saw was a rebellious, ungrateful, stubborn, completely sinful people, and God called Jeremiah to hold up a mirror to this "stiff-necked" people. Jeremiah's primary vocation was to criticize and pick apart every aspect of the culture to which he was called to "minister." And he was particularly good at his job, which made his life a target for his culture.
Jeremiah was an equal opportunity critic: from the common Israelite and the religious professionals, to the king and his entourage, no one emerged unscathed. He condemned casual sex and orgies, denounced the rich for oppressing the poor, rebuked the poor for not aspiring to a better life, and blasted the whole lot for worshipping every dime-store idol that grabbed their eye. He was a ruthless offender of God's people and a first-rate prophet, which left him friendless.
You feel Jeremiah's pain in one of the most vulnerable moments captured in Scripture, when Jeremiah said, "Whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, 'Violence and destruction!' For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long" (Jeremiah 20:8). Being a called man is a lonely job, and many times you feel like God has abandoned you in your ministry.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Church Planter"
Copyright © 2010 Darrin Patrick.
Excerpted by permission of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword Mark Driscoll 7
Preface: Why Focus on Men? 9
1 A Rescued Man 21
2 A Called Man 29
3 A Qualified Man 43
4 A Dependent Man 59
5 A Skilled Man 67
6 A Shepherding Man 79
7 A Determined Man 93
8 A Historical Message 107
9 Salvation-Accomplishing 117
10 Christ-Centered 131
11 Sin-Exposing 145
12 Idol-Shattering 155
13 The Heart of Mission: Compassion 173
14 The House of Mission: The Church 181
15 The How of Mission: Contextualization 193
16 The Hands of Mission: Care 209
17 The Hope of Mission: City Transformation 225
What People are Saying About This
“This is a great new book on church planting that balances the personal spiritual issues with the theological, cultural, and technical. Church planters should all read this.”
—Timothy J. Keller, Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City; best-selling author, The Reason for God
"Church Planter is an incredible tool for pastors and church planters alike that I am confident will fuel church multiplication in countless ways in the days ahead. I highly recommend this gospel-saturated challenge to plant churches led by God-centered men.”
—David Platt, President, International Mission Board; author, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
“Now here is a clever idea—ask an experienced church-planting pastor how church planting should be done. In Church Planter: The Man, the Message, the Mission by Darrin Patrick, an experienced church planter speaks from deep theological conviction, pastoral experience, and missiological vision. Church planting is one of the most important movements of our era—and one that follows the pattern set by the apostles. This book will be welcomed by all who celebrate the renaissance of church planting in this generation.”
—R. Albert Mohler Jr., President and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“I like being pushed, and Darrin Patrick is a careful thinker and a hard-working pastor. Here he has written a clear, carefully considered, well-illustrated introduction to the pastor and his ministry. In reading it, I’ve been challenged, provoked and encouraged. I disagree with some things, like Darrin’s correlation between the resurrection of Christ and the transformation of cities, but this book has been exciting and helpful and I appreciate a great deal. I happily commend this book to you, and pray that God will use it to help establish churches that take the gospel of Christ to the end of the world.”
—Mark Dever, Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington DC; President, 9Marks
“Darrin Patrick has done an amazing job detailing out what we are called to not only as church planters but as pastors and men of God. Whether you are considering planting a church or have been a pastor for decades I couldn’t more highly recommend this book to you.”
—Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor, The Village Church, Dallas, Texas; President, Acts 29 Church Planting Network; author, The Mingling of Souls
“My new friend Darrin Patrick offers an insightful look at the privilege and calling of being a church planter. As one who is passionate about growing God’s church, I recommend this book for every pastor and church planter. If you hope to plant a church for the fame of the name of Jesus Christ, be sure to read this book before you do.”
—James MacDonald, Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel, Rolling Meadows, Illinois; author, Vertical Church
“Darrin Patrick is an excellent thinker with a great heart for the Church. I believe his words in this book are crucial for men in the body of Christ to pay attention to.”
—Dino Rizzo, Pastor, Healing Place Church, Baton Rouge, LA
“Darrin Patrick is a friend to church planters. He is widely known as a strong leader and good thinker in church planting today. In this book, Darrin brings together his biblical understanding, theological insight, and pastoral wisdom on what it takes to plant a missional church. For those who are planting or thinking about it, this book will help you to see if you are prepared—with the message and for the mission.”
—Ed Stetzer, President, LifeWay Research; author, Subversive Kingdom; www.edstetzer.com
“We have all read books on church planting, planting churches, and church planting movements. This book is about the church planter—his qualifications, his theology, and his character. Make no mistake about it, Darrin Patrick covers all the bases on what it takes to be a successful church planter in the twenty-first century. Get the right man, going in the right direction, with the right message and you have impactful combination for the kingdom of God. This is a Christ- and gospel-centered approach to launching new churches.”
—Billy Hornsby, President, Association of Related Churches
“Church Planter: The Man, the Message, and the Mission is a superb work. Darrin Patrick combines the mind of a careful theologian, the heart of a compassionate pastor, and the passion of a missional Christian. As someone heavily invested in training church planters in a seminary, this will be a must-read for those we teach and send out to penetrate lostness in the unreached and underserved cities of our nation and the world. Thank you Darren for this labor of love. You have rendered a valuable service to the body of Christ.”
—Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Church Planter comes from the heart of a real man sharing the real gospel from real experience leading Christ’s church. Powerful, helpful, hopeful!”
—Bryan Chapell, President Emeritus, Covenant Theological Seminary; Senior Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Peoria, Illinois
“If you are called to church planting, Darrin Patrick gets you. More importantly, he understands what it takes to connect you to the gospel, the gospel to the church, and the church to the mission. This book is packed with insight; it’s a boot-camp-in-print. If God has enlisted you, then read it and let the training begin!”
—Dave Harvey, Pastor of Preaching, Four Oaks Community Church, Tallahassee, Florida; author, When Sinners Say I Do and Am I Called?
“I love this book because I love church planters and I know this book will help them fulfill their calling. I also love that Darrin writes in such a raw way. This isn’t an ivory tower book. It’s written by someone who has some battle scars because he’s been in the trenches of church planting.”
—Mark Batterson, Lead Pastor, National Community Church, Washington, DC; author, Wild Goose Chase and Soulprint
“Darrin slices through the clutter to give us insight on what is most important in launching a new work—a clear understanding of a biblically functioning community led by one passionately committed to Jesus. This is a strong, excellent work that goes beyond pragmatic strategies and gives principles that will serve in any context. I'm fired up about a movement of leaders who will live out the core principles of Church Planter and launch churches that honor God and share his fame!”
—Jud Wilhite, author, Eyes Wide Open and Uncensored Grace; senior pastor, Central Christian Church, Las Vegas, Nevada
“Darrin Patrick gets ministry. He understands it’s not a career for those of us trying to do something for God. It’s a calling that can only be fulfilled faithfully when built upon the foundation of scriptural norms. This is not only a great book for anyone involved in church planting—it’s also a great book for anyone involved in pastoral ministry. It will help you (and your team) keep your life, message, and mission aligned with God’s vision and calling.”
—Larry Osborne, Pastor, North Coast Church, Vista, California; author, Sticky Church
“Church Planter: the Man, the Message and the Mission by Darrin Patrick is a must-read for anyone thinking about planting a church or who works with church planting leaders. While I don’t hold to all of Darrin’s theology of leadership I still highly recommend Church Planter. When it comes to church planting Darrin is a guy that absolutely ‘gets it’ because he has done it! And you will ‘get it’ too if you read this book!”
—Dave Ferguson, Lead Pastor, Community Christian Church, Naperville, Illinois; Lead Visionary, NewThing
“If I were beginning the journey of starting a church, and I could only choose two books to take with me. They would be the Bible, and Church Planter by Darrin Patrick.”
—Matt Carter, Pastor of Preaching, The Austin Stone Community Church, Austin, Texas; co-author, The Real Win
“There is no greater need in the world today than for men who will embody the unchanging message of the gospel in their own lives, and then carry it into the ever-changing communities in which we live. Darrin Patrick clearly articulates a compelling vision of the kind of leader and church we need in the twenty-first century. Every Christian man should read this book, and ask the question ‘what part is God calling ME to play in planting transformational churches?’ Some may never have considered ministry, but reading this book could be dangerous for your career prospects. Other readers may be in paid church leadership, but will discover that God has been preparing a different, society-changing role for you to play. May God use this book to raise an army of church planting missionaries, some who will lead fantastic churches, others who will incarnate the gospel by being Christ-centered businessmen, caring professionals, or whatever it is that God has designed you to be. This book will convince you that there is hope for the church yet, and that the church is the only hope for this world.”
—Adrian Warnock, author, Hope Reborn and Raised with Christ
“This book is a weapon. Church Planter is one of the more important pieces of equipment that a church planter (or a man aspiring to any level of church leadership) can own. Darrin Patrick writes out of biblical conviction and proven experience, not preference or pragmatics. I trust Darrin. I trust what he's written here. I hope this book is placed in the hands of men all over the world.”
—Justin Buzzard, Lead Pastor, Garden City Church, Silicon Valley; author, Date Your Wife and The Big Story
“Darrin does a great job describing the challenges of planting and directing the planter toward gospel solutions. Whether you’re in the midst of planting or thinking about planting page 25 alone is worth the cost of the book.”
—Eric Simmons, Pastor, Redeemer Church of Arlington, Arlington, VA
“In Church Planter Darrin Patrick gets to the heart of what it means to be a man who loves God and transforms communities. I like the fact that you don't have to agree with all of his theology to benefit from his wisdom. He shows us not just how to have great churches but how to have better cities. I think that reflects the heart of God. I know it captured mine.”
—Greg Surratt, Pastor, Seacoast Church
“Darrin Patrick is one of the most important voices in the church plantingcommunity. Every potential church planter should read this book before he decides to plant, and every existing church planter should read this book once every year! Too many people care only about planting more churches. What we need is more healthy churches with healthy pastors. This resource focuses on doing just that!”
—Shawn Lovejoy, Lead Pastor, Mountain Lake Church, Cumming, GA; co-founder, churchplanters.com
“When Darrin Patrick speaks about church planting people listen. This book cuts to the very core of the life of a church planter. It’s biblically based and it’s solid in content. It is a must read for every man that is considering planting a church. We will require it for every church planter we train through the Launch Network.”
—Brian Bloye, Lead Pastor, West Ridge Church, Dallas, GA; President, Launch Network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The church planting varsity league of the 21st century, Acts 29, has finally released their first book on church planting: Church Planter by Darrin Patrick. In particular, Patrick's work is about raising the bar for ban's (boy+man=ban) to stop merely being humans with male plumbing, but men who are defined by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Main Review At the center of this book beats a heat centered on Jesus Christ and him crucified. This got me excited about the book. At no point does Patrick slip into the all to easy vein of moralistic guilting. Darrin Patrick is a pastor, a pastor who loves Jesus, and you get the sense through the book that Patrick wants us to know the power of King Jesus as it relates to the call of some to plant churches. He wants what God wants, what the Bible clearly calls men to (if they should so choose to let the Bible speak for itself): men who know the power of Christ to rescue them from sin and call them into a life with God. He makes appeals to men being men of God simply because they are fundamentally rescued men. Eric Simmons has noted that page 25 of the book where he talks about "What does it mean to be rescued?" is worth the entire price of the book. I couldn't agree more. But let me add a couple more places that the book is worth its weight in gold. In chapter three, Patrick gives a fresh and helpful exposition of 1 Timothy 3's qualifications of a pastor. Seriously rich and illuminating stuff here. Further, on page 124 in chapter 9 on "Salvation-Accomplishing" I have a huge star for personal reference where Patrick goes through and gives an extensive Scripture listing of "The blessings that Christ has procured or us through his death and resurrection [that are] immeasurable". I know I will be continually referring back to this helpful listing (along with a section a few pages over on the imputed righteousness of Christ). A further helpful aspect of the book that I would note is Patrick's pastoral care for us through the material. He likes to ask you lots of questions to help you think through things. These tend to be at the end of chapters. He also wants to keep you from going off on bad roads from various things he presents. So very often he presents biblical truth, applies it to your life, and then gives observations (typically two or three) on how people can avoid this truth, supress it, take it the wrong way, etc. His wise insight will be helpful in guiding many men on a godly path of pursuing a church planting calling. In some ways I feel this book is mistitled. It should be something along the lines of "Being A Christian".Very little of this book is relegated to only church planters. I think Patrick should have given more discussion to the qualification of a man's love and care for his wife, especially given the fairly stark picture he paints of the modern man in his preface. Further, I am slightly concerns about Patrick's application of church planting primarily to cities and feel it will hinder the book from helping those in rural or suburban settings. But I don't think this keeps the book from being useful to all Christians, especially those church planting. I think all Christians who want a simple, packed, and "go to" manual in getting clarity and insight into who they are as a Christian, what they're called to, what their message is, and where they should be thinking about going will benefit from this book.
When will this be released on Nook?? I hope soon.
Don't let the title fool you. While this book is filled with wisdom for church planters, it also has invaluable insights for anyone involved in the ministry of the church, including those who have been at it for some time. The three main sections (Man, Message, Mission) were equally good, though I imagine the third will have its fair share of detractors who disagree on some issues, particularly the whole matter of contextualization. The chapter on "Idol-Shattering" was probably most helpful to me personally.