I did not intend to write another post on Darrin Patrick’s Church Planter: the man, the message, the mission. However, after completing the book, I feel that I am duty bound to give some balance to my initial review, which was less than flattering.
The final section, The Mission, was less generous with those earlier annoying assumptions that I happened to disagree with. Rather, it was full of practical wisdom and inspiring stories from the heart of a man who wants to see his city transformed by the love of Jesus.
Patrick provides a very balanced view of the relationship between the gospel and social justice. The activity of believers among their neighbors is not either a clear, strong presentation of the gospel or acts of compassion…it is both! It doesn’t need to be that fuzzy or complicated. Love people and meet their needs—and at the same time be looking for and taking advantage of every opportunity to share the gospel.
I was probably most impressed with the focus on intentionally developing relationships within the neighborhoods surrounding the church building. This portion of the book challenges churches to plant their roots deep in the community. Research. Find out the most pressing needs of those just outside your doors. Roll up your sleeves and get involved. Host community events and service projects. Find ways to purposely engage neighborhood residents on a recurring basis. Follow up. Disciple those who are reached and encourage them to open their homes and lives to teach and disciple their friends and neighbors.
The following are a few of my favorite quotes from this section.
On adopting the compassion of Jesus:
“Only when we look can we experience compassion”
On the contextualization of the gospel:
“We enter into culture realizing that it is both broken and beautiful because culture comes from the hearts of people, and people are both made in the image of God and are sinners.”
On the impact of the church in the community:
“Would your city weep if your church did not exist?”