Friday, February 18, 2011

First Steps for Planting Missional Churches

This is a manual for church planting written by Gary Rohrmayer. It is superfically baptistic (ie has statements that my deep thinking baptist friends wouldn't say), congregational, Arminian, in one place quotes one of the Emergent Church gurus and has a liberal dose of church growth guff. One of those five things are usually enough to make me stop reading and look for something better. But in an attempt to do some research on Church planting I persevered with this manual and I was glad that I did for there were many things to glean and twist to my setting. Added to that this man has planted more churches than my denomination has in 200 years so if I can't learn something then there is something seriously wrong with the size of my head!
Obviously in a manual on church planting that is congregational in ecclesiology there is not going to be the realism of the work of a supporting denomination and so the writer has only part of the picture when he writes, "New churches are the most effective means of evangelism......older churches tend to become so burdened with budgets, buildings and pastor and people problems that they have no longer the energy for outreach." While there may be truth in this, and I think I have seen it first hand the other side is - the church planting of my own denomination would simply not have happened without the support of the older churches.
This manual covers the whole spectrum of planting - foundations, gathering a group, building a launch team, designing worship services and ministry strategies, establishing new communities and ministries. While many of the practical application is a bit American there is often something that would carry over to our UK setting. His ideas on preaching were particularly thought prevoking - relying on the help of the Holy Spirit, excelling in preaching, have your preaching evaluated regularly, planning in preaching, answer the questions that are in people's minds, hope should fill every sermon and preach short series.
Anyone interested in church planting I would recommend reading this and drawing out what you can use in your situation. Beware of the theological undercurrents that are simply not Biblical.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Meaning and Mode of Baptism

Doing some reading these days around the subject of baptism as preparation for a series of sermons on baptism. A friend guided me to Jay E Adam's wee booklet, "The meaning and mode of baptism." It is just 56 pages in length so doesn't really count as a book. But this booklet will help anyone who is interested in working out what the Bible says about the how to of baptism. His basic thesis is simple - immersion is not the Biblical mode of baptism and it should be by sprinkling or pouring. Adams leaves no stone unturned in this study and presents his material in a gracious manner. A vital read for anyone serious about understanding what the Bible says about baptism. The booklet is published by P&R.