Matt, Heather, Jones & Macrae:

ChurchVenture  HOME PAGE

Our passion is to build communities that are loyal to Jesus.

Please ...

  1. Watch our video
  2. Subscribe to our blog
  3. Consider supporting us. Follow the green button ...
Watch Video Full Screen

Monday, August 11, 2008

Planting Growing Churches for the 21st Century by Aubrey Malphurs

Special update: I wrote a book for churches to give to first-time guests. It’s had a huge impact at bringing more people back as second-time guests and adding them into the church community. Get the Kindle version of Unforgettable: Your purpose in Christ here and the print version from Those outside the USA may need to order print copies from,, or
I just finished reading the book Planting Growing Churches for the 21st Century: A Comprehensive Guide for New Churches and Those Desiring Renewal by Aubrey Malphurs. I'd sum it up in this statement: it gives church planters a firm strategy for launching a new church and a plan for avoiding plateau. It is very similar to Ed Stetzer's book in many regards and Malphurs draws from Stetzer's other material throughout.

This book would be extremely helpful for anyone involved in the leadership of a church plant. It starts with a strong explanation of why church planting is necessary and proceeds to cover nearly all aspects of starting a new church. It brought up many considerations I would have never thought up by myself or perhaps even in a team context.

I recently read an article which labeled church planting as an enigma. Malphurs book, among others I am reading, in addition to my church planting internship, has helped put some flesh on the bones. This book helps the picture become clearer. A church planter friend recently told me that it doesn't matter how much training you do, you just have to make it up as you go along. After reading this book the enigma feels smaller, the preparation worthwhile and some of the guess work has gone. Although my friend is right about one thing, unless you do it the training is pointless! This is definitely an equipping book if it can be implemented.

I found myself reading this book incredibly slowly (much like the last book). Each section would spark a million ideas which I scribbled in my page margin. It covers such things as the qualities of the leader, the dynamics of leading a core group, finances, meeting location, membership, roles, giving, assimilation, evaluation, strategy, recruiting, etc ...

Here are some sections I marked that grabbed my attention:
  1. Starting a church is one of the most exciting spiritual ventures a group of Christians may ever undertake, p21.
  2. The bigger the vision, the bigger the investment, p55.
  3. 80% of church growth is through biology or transfer, not salvation, p64. (Note: this presents the need for new churches because the older a church gets the less people it reaches)
  4. We must recognize that facility conditions say a lot about the people who worship there -- namely that our belief doesn't deserve the best. See biblical excellence here Eph 6:5-8 & Col 3:23-24, p70.
  5. It has been conservatively estimated that at this time [by Acts 4] the total number of disciples was between 20-25,000. The sheer size would necessitate a significant number of elders, p108.
    1. There are several passages that indicate that the churches in Acts, unlike the majority of churches in America today, were large, Acts 2:41, Acts 9:31, Acts 14:1 & Acts 18:8, p107.
  6. Church planting involves hours on our knee's in prayer -- prayer is a constant, p118.
  7. By 2050 approximately 79% of the worlds population will live in urban centers. He who wins the city, wins the world, p143.
  8. For churches to grow and improve, they need to conduct regular evaluations, p163.
  9. Within a year or two the initial core group will often leave the church, p169. (this happens for various reasons, some good, some not so good)
  10. The purpose of the first core group meeting is for the leader to get to know people and assess if they are the right match, p169-p170.
  11. Small group and children's ministry are critical, p175.
  12. If you don't add non-believers at the core group stage it wont be in the churches DNA and you'll loose momentum, p182.
  13. With the proper planning a hot start [an existing core with a new leader] can launch in 4-6 months, p186.
  14. Going public with less than 50 increases failure three-fold, p188.
  15. The average response to a telemarketing campaign is one person per one hundred or more calls, p204.
  16. Most spiritually growing churches are growing numerically, p211.
  17. Churches that want to be like a big family and take care of one-another are disobeying the great commission. They are not evangelizing, pursuing and edifying the lost, p216.
  18. The number one reason people join a church is because they felt accepted, p225.
  19. The leader should place administration in the hands of the staff and ministry with lay people, p229.
  20. By focusing on evangelism over edification, you are more likely to reach a biblical balance between the two, p234.
  21. You need at least 50 in the core group to grow larger than 200, p262.
It sounds very easy when starting a new church to focus mainly on the launch. This book helps break through the bubble and prepare a church planter for church growth in addition to the start. It also helps you plan for reproduction -- something all healthy churches should do.

Checkout Planting Growing Churches for the 21st Century by Aubrey Malphurs.


jason said...

Appreciated the review of the book, will link to it.

I was curious though, am I mistaken or didn't Malphurs first edition come before Stetzer's first edition?

o1mnikent said...

Great review! I thought you also might be interested in a few of Malphurs' other books. Logos Bible Software is offering the Robert P. Lightner and Aubrey Malphurs Collection at a discounted pre-order price.