October 30th, 2009
Payne, J.D. Discovering Church Planting: An Introduction to the Whats, Whys, and Hows of Global Church Planting, 2009. Colorado Springs: Paternoster. 458 pp. $22.99.
Dr. Payne is an Associate Professor of Church Planting and Evangelism at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as well as a National Missionary with the North American Mission Board. He is the founder of NorthAmericanMissions.org–a web-based resource for church planters and missionaries. His wife is a physician working at a clinic for uninsured populations in Louisville, Kentucky.
Not everyone who longs to plant a church has the time or money to attend a church planting basic training or a seminary class on church planting. Truth be told, not every one who wants to plant a church has the wherewithal to begin asking the questions that are necessary to move forward. Thankfully, Dr. Payne has alleviated both of these barriers with the publication of Discovering Church Planting: An Introduction to the What’s, Why’s, and How’s of Global Church Planting (DCP from this point forward).
DCP is divided into four sections dealing with the major areas of church planting. The first section is the biblical and theological foundations for church planting. Here he looks at what the Bible says about planting a church from ecclesiology (church government) to evangelism and discipleship and leadership. As the section title indicates, these first eight chapters are essential to reading the rest of the book. Without understanding these foundations the rest of the book will be built on “shifting sand” and thus be ineffective.
The second section deals with the missiological principles of church planting. These seven chapters help to formulate a solid strategy in going forward with a new church start. Dr. Payne looks at the role of the “Mother Church” (i.e., the church that is sponsoring the new start) in conjunction with the young church that is planted.
Section three looks at historical pradigms of church planting. We learn how the Moravians planted churches in the early history of Christianity. We then look at how the Methodists and Baptists planted churches in the early days of the United States. These three chapters offer an interesting and revealing look at the growth of two of the main Protestant denominations. It really helps to see what was done “back in the day” while looking at what is being done today which is the topic of the fourth section, Discovering Contemporary Issues, which offers much valuable insight into objections and caricatures of church planters today.
At the end of every chapter is a summary section along with review questions to help engage the reader. Also, along the way through each chapter are little “snippet” articles designed to show real issues that crop up along the way in planting a church.
Though this book is used in seminary courses, it is a must own for anyone looking or is interested in planting a church. No matter what your context is, DCP offers advice and tips for everyone from a biblical understanding. Having gone through a four-day church planting basic training three years ago myself, I am grateful for this valuable resource today.
Dr. J.D. Payne writes from personal experience and as one with a passion to see kingdom work being done in new places. This book needs to be on the shelf of every church library. Even better, if your church is looking to plant another church, DCP would make an excellent book to study as a church preparing for this work. Get a copy today!