Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored

24Feb/110

A Life-Changing, Paradigm-Shifting Book

It is not often that I read a book that radically changes my perception of my future career, my concept of what a church is, and my perception of the education I am receiving now. But I find myself a changed man—and I find myself in possession of a book that I MUST READ AGAIN in order to understand its implications for my life.

The book is called Church Planting Movements by David Garrison.

David is a long-term missionary who has coordinated the efforts of fellow missionaries through the largest mission board in the U.S. – the International Mission Board.

He writes this book to share the information they have collected about the churches that are multiplying and reaching entire people groups with the gospel. This is NOT a book about planting a church: it is a book about planting churches that plant other churches, that plant other churches, and plant other churches…until they reach everyone in their culture…and that’s REALLY EXCITING to me. If I help plant a church in the future, I certainly want it to reach more and more and more people until it can say that everyone in its culture has heard the gospel.

Beyond that premise, this book has taught me a lot about the proper and improper way to do church. Theologians, missionaries and missions agencies are often the greatest hindrance to churches that multiply—and even if I don’t work to plant a church, I certainly don’t want to hinder the evangelistic growth of one with my work as part of it. Importantly in this respect, it reminds me that the leaders of the church are typically the people who are willing to accept the largest commitment to discipleship, not the seminary students I am in class with. They are not any more prepared to lead than small group leaders when they begin—they are simply willing to grow through mentorship with an existing pastor and grow into leadership. 

It has also taught me that the New Testament style church still exists today: casting out demons, healing people, seeing visions, meeting in homes, sharing all their possessions together, etc.

If you want to know what missions is really all about, please, please read this book. Nothing could better shape your perception of what needs to be done across the world today.

Buy it at the IMB website here.

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