Planting Churches in the 21st Century
Herald Press, 2010
“I am convinced that church planting is crucial for the continuing mission of the church and the health of the Christian community,” writes veteran church planter and founding member of the U.K. Anabaptist Network, Stuart Murray. He acts as a trainer, coach, mentor, and consultant to those involved in church planting.
Murray wants to help church plants avoid unnecessary obstacles, learn from past failures, and navigate tough cultural waters. He identifies several common problems for church planters: superficiality; inadequate preparation, training, and neighbourhood research; serious leadership deficiencies; unrealistic expectations; and little to no contextualization.
Many culture-watchers are convinced that our society is undergoing a shift of broad proportions. What does that mean for the church? Confusing times call for a wise response and Murray gives just that.
He helps the planter slow down and navigate through the tough “why” questions.
Murray recognizes the problems that come with copied methods of church planting, so he spends a great deal of the book helping the planter work through the questions him- or herself, instilling the necessary convictions to sustain planting a church in such difficult times.
In the midst of the questions, Murray weaves timeless truths and particular principles that need to be central no matter what the chosen model. I would have liked him to address more specifically what churches need to focus on for planting in the 21st century, and what he believes the church will need to address as it moves forward, but in the end his intent is fulfilled.
As a fellow planter, I wish I would’ve read this book at the beginning of my journey. This will be a great resource as Mennonite Brethren continue the task of planting churches across Canada.