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"Beyond Church Planting" Review by J.D. Payne

Review of Robert E. Logan and Neil Cole, Beyond Church Planting (St. Charles, IL: Church Smart Resources, 2005), 184 pgs. U.S. $95.00.


Beyond Church Planting

As one who trains church planters, I have been looking for a resource such as this one for sometime. Logan and Cole have worked together to develop an outstanding tool for missionaries that teaches others how to plant churches starting at the grassroots level. Rather than a being a resource that promotes a particular model of church, the authors have addressed numerous principles for planting highly reproducible indigenous churches. For example, Beyond Church Planting addresses issues such as: 1) the importance of a healthy biblical understanding of the local church; 2) the importance of evangelism that results in churches; 3) the importance of identifying and reaching persons of peace; and 4) the importance of leaders being raised up from the harvest to be sent back into the harvest field. Rather than focusing on how to plant one church, this resource stems from a passion to see the multiplication of disciples, leaders, churches, and movements. Instead of working to multiply churches through pragmatics, marketing, and money, Logan and Cole advocate the instilling of a healthy "DNA" (divine truth, nurturing relationships, and apolostolic mission) into each congregation. Since this material is principle-based, one can find immediate application whether you are planting churches inside or outside of the borders of North America.

The format for the material consists of two main elements, a workbook and seven audio cds (each one corresponding to a particular chapter), plus a cd containing several PowerPoint presentations. The notebook is divided into eight sections. Church planters Mike Perkinson and Tom Johnston, also worked with Logan and Cole on the development of the audio cds, which were recorded during a conference presenting the contents of Beyond Church Planting. These recordings are a significant contribution to this resource. The presenters share how many of their experiences illustrate the principles of this resource. Drawing from over seventy years of combined experiences, these four men share much information that has led to the planting of numerous churches throughout the world.

Section one, "Fresh Perspectives," addresses the importance of planting multiplying churches.

Section two, "Inside Out and Upside Down," challenges church planters to plant churches out of the harvest, rather than beginning with a group of Christians. Here the authors strongly advocate the need for following the biblical approach of evangelizing a people and then bringing them together as a congregation.

Section three, "Effective Evangelism," addresses how to build "redemptive relationships" leading to the multiplication of churches.

Section four, "Reproducing Disciples," offers a highly relational approach to discipling and multiplying disciples.

Section five, "Multiplying Leaders," examines how Jesus raised up leaders. Here the authors also discuss effective coaching and mentoring in the leadership development process.

Section six, "Organic Development," assists one in planning strategically for growth and change.

In section seven, "Planning Guide," this section guides one through the overall process of strategic thinking and conceptualizing the movement.

The concluding section, "FAQs and Resources," suggests additional resources and addresses several commonly asked questions such as dealing with heresy, working with children in churches, handling finances, networking, appointing elders, and obtaining additional training.

For some time I have been reading, studying, and using resources by Logan and Cole. I have recommended many of their writings and conferences to missionaries, denominational leaders, and students. Though I may not agree with the authors on every point, it is my pleasure to recommend this work to you. But I must give you a warning: This material will challenge your thinking about what many have commonly referred to as church planting. The authors will challenge you to return to the scriptures, rather than a culturally defined understanding of church, discipleship, and church planting movements. The practical outworking of this challenge, if accepted, will require many readers to make difficult sacrifices for the Kingdom.

Obviously, the cost for a single copy of this resource is steep! The publisher, however, offers a discount on purchasing bulk quantities.

-- 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 can be contacted at http://www.jdpayne.org

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