Friday, September 15, 2006

Robert's Top Ten (actually 11) church planting books

These are the books that have most influenced me when it comes to church planting.

Missional Church, edited by Darrel Guder
I read this a week or so after I finished seminary. I had actually been trying to make my way through it during the three years I was attending seminary, but I never made it. I guess it was a timing issue. The premise is that we in North America need to begin looking at North America as a mission field.

The Shaping of Things to Come, by Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch
I read this one in a couple of days. It is one of the most refreshing books I've read in a long time. The subtitle says it all: "Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century." Here is chapter one if you'd like to read it.

Resident Aliens, by Stanley Hauerwas & William H. Willimon
We Christians here in North America no longer have some of the cultural sway that we once had. We are no longer the majority. Instead, as "aliens and strangers," we as the church discover a new kind of power that only Jesus can give.

Call to Commitment, by Elizabeth O'Connor
This book tells the story of The Church of the Saviour, which started in Washington, DC shortly after World War II. All of the books about this church are worth reading. We talk a lot about the Upward, Inward, and Outward Journeys. I first heard about these from this church.

Planting Missional Churches, by Ed Stetzer
This book covers some theory, but also gets into a lot of the nuts and bolts of church planting. If you can only get one book that covers a little bit of everything, this might be your best bet.

Confessions of a Reformission Rev, by Mark Driscoll
This is the story of Mars Hill, a great church out of Seattle. They started with just a handful of people a little over a decade ago, and now have over 4000 people, and the amazing thing is that they have seen this happen in one of the most post-modern and post-christian cities in the country. He's a funny man, but he'll make you blush at times as well - so be warned.

The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, by Roland Allen
I first read this book in a church planting class in seminary. This was another book that I read in a couple of days; and, yes, another very refreshing book at the time I read it. He was a missionary to China in the early 1900's. One of the things that most impacted me about this book was his insistence that getting out of the way and allowing God to do what He wants to do is often one of the hardest things to do for a pastor or missionary.

The Celtic Way of Evangelism, by George Hunter
In this book Hunter compares the Celtic way of evangelism with the Roman way of evangelism, which has often resembled some of our methods. He describes the Celtic way as a very organic, holistic and missional approach.

More Ready Than You Realize, by Brian McLaren
I grew up being very afraid of evangelism. This was one of the first books I ever read that made me rethink evangelism. It caused me to go to the gospels to see how Jesus evangelized, and I came to understand that many of his "methods" would have caused a great deal of controversy for us today. This was very freeing to me.

A Theology as Big as the City, by Ray Bakke
I'm actually only about a quarter of the way through this book. I feel called to the city, and feel like I need to understand more before I am able to minister effectively. Bakke takes the reader through the entire Bible, starting with the Genesis account and ending with Revelation, and through that process extracts God's heart and plans for cities.

Church Planting Manual, by Timothy Keller & J. Allen Thompson
I haven't started this yet, but I've been told that it's one of the best resources for a church planter. I've just become aware of Tim Keller (Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC), and have pretty much been blown away by everything I've heard.

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