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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age by Ed Stetzer

I just read Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age by Ed Stetzer and it is a fantastic book for church planters. In fact, anyone involved in church planting should read this book. It has a lot of practical "how to" advice as well as solid reasoning behind planting. It effectively unpacks postmodern thinking and provides some helpful approaches to reach this generation through church planting.

The part that spoke to me the most was the chapter on worship. I think I may have shed a tear even! On page 267 Stetzer writes "The purpose of worship is also to allow unbelievers to observe the divine-human encounter and to yearn for their own personal relationship with God". Yes! Communal Christian worship is all about thirstiness. Believers should be desperately hungry for Gods presence and the worship environment should help foster a thirst in those who do not yet believe.

Ultimately, the church is about the presence of God! It's one of the main themes in the Bible -- God being with his people. This greatly stirred my soul and increased my confidence in putting together a worshiping community who drink deeply of Jesus. I need to invest good resources into making worship a big deal! There is no better way to reach people with the gospel.

In the end this is not just the best reason, it is the only real reason for someone to become a follower of Jesus. When people can feel His presence. When they are made aware of a supernatural person who is INCREDIBLY close by, then, and only then, will genuine transformation occur. There is nothing like an encounter with Jesus to change your world view. Preaching will help. Visual aids will help. Testimonies will help. Living right will help. But the main thing is God's presence!

Here are some other highlights of the book:
  1. Biblical church planters focus on the great commission by reaching the unchurched, not seeking to attract area Christians, page 4.
  2. Charismatics and Protestants are planting the majority of churches, page 14.
  3. The church needs to realize that mission is its fundamental identity, page 22.
  4. Planters must not present any message other than Christ, page 37.
  5. It makes more sense for the pastor to spend time with potential reproducers, page 92.
  6. Post-moderns have been educated in politically correct schools that Christianity is bigoted and small-minded, page 131.
  7. Spirituality is at a popular high, page 137.
  8. knocked 15,000 doors in Seattle and launched 6 months later with 500 first timers, page 206.
  9. People give to vision, not need, page 255.
  10. Marketers cannot reach everyone every time, but they do reach someone everyday, page 260.
  11. Mill Creek Community Church did 55,000 dial-ups which generated a list of 2,151 prospects and gathered 200 people at the first service, page 260.
  12. Do not have more than 3 preview services, page 262.
  13. Complaints should be expected no matter what methods of communication you use. The only post-moderns offended by mass-outreach are Christians. Spiritually seeking post-moderns are generally not offended, page 263.
  14. Hold new people going through membership with a high standard, page 291.
  15. Growth requires growing a relationship list, immediate follow-up process, assimilation, small group strategy and legal recognition, page 300.
  16. Church planters need to be the best advocates and sponsors for the next generation churches, page 320.
  17. It is not advertising, music or organizing -- it is touching, winning and congregationalizing the lost, page 330.
Checkout: Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age by Ed Stetzer

1 comment:

Frankie Jarrett said...

excellent! thanks for the in depth review, matt. this is really helpful stuff. i love reading your blog and benefiting from all of your hard work! so thanks again.