Monday, November 22, 2010

Church Planter, Darrin Patrick

I have to confess it was the online movie type trailer that made me buy this book on church planting. And like all movies - the book is better. Darrin Patrick is vice president of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network and the founding pastor of The Journey Church in St. Louis. Although you will find nothing particularly new in this volume it is draws together many aspects of planting into one volume. I agree with Tim Keller (I am sure he is glad about that!) "Church planters should all read this."
The book is divided into three main areas - the man, the message and the mission. The book commences with a rivetting preface in which he calls men to be real men and not "bans". That is Patrick's way of speaking of men who never grow up and are still playing about with games consoles and not being real men. The second chapter on call to ministry is well worth buying the book for. He says that any man interested in being a church planter should be willing to take hits in decision making. I would take that further - any man considering the ministry in any shape or form - if you are not up for the tough time, the slog, the plod, the pain, the tears, the heartbreak - then forget it - be a postman - at least you will only get bitten by dogs. Other chapters in section one include - qualifications for ministry, what it means to be skilled in ministry and what it is to shepherd the people of God. Chapter 7 on being a determined man is a super chapter filled with Biblical reasoning on why to keep on in the ministry and how to.
In the second section - chapters 8-12 (The Message) you can see that this guy really does know his stuff and has gleaned amongst the "Big boys" for his theology. His chapter on Salvation Accomplishing is John Murray's classic Redemption Accomplished and Applied in jeans and t shirt. In Chapter 10 it is clear that Patrick knows the things to beware of out there - moralism, relativism etc. and once more has some cracker footnotes. In dealing with exposing sin he quotes the Shorter Catechism and John Knox and that in itself gains him kudos. His chapter on Idol Shattering is classic Keller - calling preachers to expose the sin under the sin.
In the final section - chapter 13-17 the writer deals with mission. Chapter 13 did concern me somewhat when he quotes Theresa of Avila and Hans Kung. But don't let that put you off the book. Chapter 14 on the church and mission lacks a covenantal approach, but his classification on types of churches is helpful and challenging. Chapter 15 on contextualisation will no doubt raise a few eyebrows for some but there is much here that is very thought provoking about reaching the masses with the gospel. Patrick does well in keeping away from the dangerous edges of contextualisation. The final few chapters on care and city transformation conclude the book.
All in all - a good read. You will not agree with everything and strongly disagree with some things (E.g. his comments on the Sabbath). But this is well worth the read. Why not team up with a few others to read and discuss.

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