Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Can anything good come out of New York?

I ordered a copy of the ‘Church Planter Manual’ from the Redeemer Church Planting Centre (Tim Keller’s show) and it arrived yesterday.

When I led the team starting Valley Heights Community Church at Springwood I’m not sure I’d even heard of Keller. I still haven’t listened to any of his preaching (I’m a bit technologically challenged; I blog, but I still don’t own an ipod) but I read The Reason for God and watched his thing at the Google workshop and have read a few articles that he wrote. I loved the personal humility and respect for other people that came through in each of them and the clarity and structure of his approach to communication.

Somewhere online I came across the table of contents of his Church Planting Manual. I’m not looking to plant new churches yet out of St Mark’s; all my thinking at the moment is about seeking God’s renewing of a church that is looking to see some stronger growth. And there seemed to be stuff in that table of contents that would be helpful to that context as well.

The little Aussie dollar was up at the time so I bought it.

I’ve just read the Preface, which says that there are 3 key principles running through the book:

  1. The gospel is ‘the power of God unto church planting’, as well as unto salvation. You’ve got to like stuff that starts with the idea that unique and transforming gospel is the key. The next question is always, ‘what do they understand the gospel to be’? But I’ve already got a sense of that from The Reason for God.

  2. Effective ministry requires a creative ministry model that honours both the realities of the context and the gifts of its leaders. I used to be a management consultant and this reminded me a bit of consultant speak; but apparently there’s an extended discussion of it in Part I and II so by the end hopefully it will have moved from ‘vague and abstract’ to ‘concrete and understandable’ for me. I do wonder at this stage why effective ministry only depends on the gifts of the leaders and not the gifts of the followers.

  3. Churches grow best when their aim is not church growth but 'the peace of the city'. I presume as I read on that I will discover that both of those aims are subordinate to the aim of glorifying God. And I will be interested to read Keller’s take on what serving the peace of the city looks like. I am now thinking about what ‘serving the peace of the suburbs’ might involve.

Have other people read this manual, or used it in their own church planting efforts (on the assumption that someone is reading my new blog)?

And I picked my title to see if Justin Moffat is reading.


  1. I haven't read it, but I'm interested to hear more from your reading of it.

  2. it'll be interesting to see how you think it translates into your sydney suburban setting
    I have a spare if you want it seumas.

  3. Shane,

    I'll be interested in that too!