Book Review – Apostolic Church Planting, J.D. Payne

Really cannot commend this book highly enough, and really J.D.’s whole approach to the topic. We got it after listening to just about every podcast he has done and it still provided additional insights and considerations. Once you begin with the notion that church planting is evangelism resulting in new believers that form churches, rather than the contemporary idea that church planting is building a better mousetrap that more Christian consumers will want, the whole paradigm changes.

The book is a very easy read and I got through it in 24 hours. My wife read it first and she likes to highlight so I had the added benefit of seeing what was meaningful to her so we could follow up on those points in conversation.

I was struck by J.D. emphasis on using strategies that are easily reproduced. So much of modern western church planting requires special resources, venues or skill sets. This cannot work if the goal is churches that multiply into more churches fairly quickly. I’ve thought about that with our own strategy which is to emphasize soul care and biblical counseling both evangelistically and with our church family/partnered churches.

For me, one of the new things that happened was I thought much more clearly about the ethical implications of this truth J.D. lays out in the final chapter. We have planted our church in a low income, racially diverse part of our city but I don’t think I would do it again. While we have seen fruit here and there are incredible needs, most of the people we are reaching do have access to the gospel albeit in a limited or doctrinally inadequate way. I wonder what it would have been like for us to instead move into an area with more unreached peoples settling in and either join an existing work or build a team around that mission field.

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