Church Planter not so bad after all

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.

Good stuff.

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?”

Good question.

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5 thoughts on “Church Planter not so bad after all”

  1. Interesting! It sounds like what my church is doing– loving their community and presenting a clear message of the gospel. The church building is busy all week long . . . AA meetings, community meetings, open gym (5 days a week, evenings some days and all day on other days), blood drives, food pantry, free meals (breakfast one day, lunch on Sundays), monthly 789 dances for the junior high young people in the community (partnering with Bryan Grant, the local police, and DJ’s for a great safe event), welcoming the local kids to skateboard in their parking lot, and participating in other outreaches like a clothing drive through Love INC (Love in the name of Christ– an interdenominational co-church community service outreach), Christmas gift boxes for Operation Christmas, participation in missions to Rwanda and church planting and training in partnership with an African church leader . . .

    –Just some fun ideas of the many ways we can meet our communities needs at the same time as communicating a clear message of the gospel.

    The church also has community groups, which involve ongoing weekly meetings in people’s homes for Bible study, fellowship, prayer, and discussion and application of Sunday’s message(more than 100 participants at this point. They also have two different women’s Bible studies (one morning, one evening), men’s prayer and basketball groups, and monthly tots and moms play dates, among other opportunities to hear the gospel clearly presented in a setting of fellowship and discipling relationships.

  2. Good stuff, thank you. I’m trying to forget the writer who inspired it, but I’m glad for what you have done with it and your bringing it to your readers.
    “…plant roots deep in the community”
    and
    “Only when we look can we experience compassion”
    We too often make our plans in the comfort of our own spaces far from the people we want to reach. Then we take what we have prepared and “give” it to the needy. Here we are challenged to sit down in the ‘dirt’ and look…
    Thanks so much. It touches on something I am busy writing. I’ll definitely link to this post.

    1. Ian –

      We too often make our plans in the comfort of our own spaces far from the people we want to reach
      Exactly! I came across a fictional story/dialog addressing this same issue a few weeks ago. http://www.jevlir.com/2010/12/the-missionarys-house/
      I’m really pricked by this kind of thing since I have recently moved to the largest city in Oregon, and my husband has joined the ministry staff at a church that is right smack in the middle of a pretty needy area.

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