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"Church Planting Movements" by David Garrison Reviewed by J.D. Payne

Review of Church Planting Movements: How God is Redeeming a Lost World by David Garrison
(Midlothian, VA: WIGTake Resources, 2004, 362pp. $18.95 USD

Reviewed by J. D. Payne, Ph.D.

Church Planting Movements

It has finally arrived!  Ever since Garrison published his booklet entitled Church Planting Movements in 2000, missionaries have been longing for more information regarding these movements.  If the reader has been expecting just an expanded version of the booklet, then he or she will be disappointed.  

The book is divided into four sections and three appendices.  The first section addresses Garrison’s journey into the world of church planting movements and offers his definition of these movements, even refuting several misconceptions.

In section two, Garrison takes the reader on a world tour describing current realities of what is taking place throughout many nations.  Eight chapters are devoted to examining these movements in India, China, other Asian nations, Africa, the Muslim World, Latin America, Europe, and North America.  

Section three discusses various lessons we can learn from church planting movements.  A chapter is devoted to explaining what occurs in every movement as well as a chapter describing what occurs in most movements.  Garrison also devotes a chapter to examining how the Scriptures address these movements.  The section concludes with a chapter discussing obstacles to the movements as well as a chapter answering the most common questions regarding these movements.

The final section contains two chapters that address some very practical ways the reader can be involved in church planting movements.  

According to Garrison, church planting movements are nothing new; they are as old as the Apostolic Church.  Garrison calls the reader back to a healthy biblical ecclesiology and a missiology that includes a philosophy of simple church life, rapid leadership development, and multiplicative church planting.  Throughout this work, he strongly advocates the role of the strategy coordinator in missions and prefers the planting of house churches, even above cell churches.  Believing that these movements are both the work of the sovereign Lord and His people, Garrison constantly challenges the reader to consider what he or she is doing to help facilitate these movements.

Though this work is 362 pages in length, it is not a soporific read.  Garrison shares stories from around the globe in an intriguing manner.  Tales from well-know areas as well as those from undisclosed nations permeate this work.  The reader is exposed to stories manifesting the height of excitement as well as the agonies of loss.  Regardless of the location of one’s mission field, readers from across the globe will find practical, challenging, and encouraging information in this work.

Related Works:

Roland Allen, Missionary Methods, St. Paul’s or Ours (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 1962).
________.  The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 1962).
Charles Brock, Indigenous Church Planting (Neosho, MO: Church Growth International, 1994).            

This review first appeared in Evangelical Missions Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 3, July 2004, pgs. 382-383
Copyright 2006 J. D. Payne

-- J. D. Payne is the Director of the Nehemiah Project and Assistant Professor of Church Planting and Evangelism at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He also authored Missional House Churches & can be contacted at http://www.jdpayne.org.


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