Pick up Crown of Thorns today!
Similar to what I argued recently about how a disciple making movement becomes a church planting movement, I was scanning through portions of one of my favorite books ever written… Total Church, by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis. If you do not own this book, stop what you are doing and go purchase it immediately.
Total Church lays out a gospel-centered missional strategy for the ecclesial community. It’s a tremendous resource and one that I think Vineyard pastors and leaders should read.
Here’s a brief quote from Total Church that encourages a communal commitment to plant churches as opposed to just one person. I tend to lean in this direction myself, so I really like this:
“So mission cannot be done by a lone ranger. Mission must be done by a community of believers. It cannot be done in hit-and-run raids. There must be a community that can be observed and one that offers a place of belonging. When we think “mission” we must think “church.” And the best way to link church and mission is through church planting.”
What do you think? I know the church planting naysayers will dislike the last statement but what about the idea of community focused church planting or community focused missional living?
Fair warning. I am a huge fan of just about everything that I read from Tim Chester. It’s borderline “fan boy” status. Some people like Piper or Driscoll or Warren or Stetzer a lot. I like Chester a lot. What he writes about the gospel and about community resonates in my soul.
So you should be not be surprised that I read his latest book, written with Steve Timmis, and loved it. Actually, I love Steve Timmis too.
Their new book, Everyday Church: Gospel Communities on Mission, is really a continuation of the gospel-centered missional community that they wrote about in their phenomenally helpful book, Total Church. You might remember that Total Church was one of the four church planting resources that I thought every planter should own.
How do our meals play a role in the mission of the church? Does food say anything about God’s grace, or community, or the purpose of the church? How did Jesus understand food?
A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community & Mission around the Table is essentially a biblical theology of meals based on the Gospel of Luke. Tim Chester, the author, takes 143 pages and demonstrates both how Jesus viewed meals and how Jesus used meals… all connected to grace, community, and mission.
Chester’s book is extraordinary, for a variety of reasons.
First, the introduction alone makes the book worth it. Chester lays out a Jesus’ relationship with food by asking a question. He writes,
“How would you complete the sentence: “The Son of Man came…”? The Son of Man came… preaching the Word… to establish the kingdom of God… to die on the cross.” (p. 12) [Read more…]
Church planting takes guts. More than guts, it takes a work of the Spirit in every way fashionable. I think a lot of people plant churches without really evaluating themselves, the community they are targeting, and the biblical/theological principles that will help the work stay Christ-centered, gospel-driven, and people-loving.
I should clarify something here. I am not a church planter. I’m a pastor who has a heart for church planting and who believes strongly in its importance. Secondly, I am a reader and spend a great deal of time reading books on the subject because much of what applies to church planting applies to pastoring an existing congregation, especially when new leadership transitions in.
Nonetheless, I have come to the conclusion, after reading a lot of books on the subject of church planting and pastoring, that there are four books that every church planter should own. They are as follows: