Planting Missional Churches by Ed Stetzer

I am currently reading this, thanks to Nick who posted it down. I'm supernaturally gifted at giving things a trendy 'pre-worn' look in a short period of time. That's why Paul never lends me his books. I'm hoping Nick won't remember the condition the book was in before he lent it to me. Then again, I may give it a wisened, 'I've carried this manual with me while I've planted fifty churches' look to it.

It's a good read. Stetzer has some good cautions and qualifications against the emerging/missional approach to church. Lots of practical advice and examples.

It is clearly written in a larger 'scene' and clearly American in style and approach. You definitely feel like you're in the big league. It is so easy for Australians to hear all that and go 'Oh that's just America'. But perhaps we do that too quickly. A couple of examples:

  1. When the churches in this book do fliering and mailouts they think tens and hundreds of thousands - recruiting mission teams and volunteers from other churches, doing addressed letters, rather than just fliers in letterboxes and so on. Is there a valid cultural reason why we should publicise less? Or are our sights set too low?
  2. Likewise, Stetzer refers to churches who are willing and keen to seek out additional funds and even do rehearsal services to make sure that the church is well run and well presented when it starts. In Australia, we tend to only think about good branding, equipment, decor and uniforms once (and if) the church can afford them in it's own budget. Is that a cultural difference or a self-fulfilling prophecy?
  3. At one point he discusses 'rental fatigue', the exhaustion that sets in from packing up and down for church in a rented hall each week. And in passing, he speaks about volunteers getting up at five or six a.m. to spend three hours in set up. I'm not necessarily advocating a church service that requires that much set up. But I am asking: do we limit how well we do things by having too low a threshold for certain types of work?