APPROACHES

BOOK REVIEWS

The strength of our Book Reviews collection lies in the categorical breakdown that we have created for you below. We have divided the most common ministry design issues into categories so that you can more easily find the solution that you are looking for. Our eventual goal is to have an in-depth review for every book that will give you further assistance in discovering the reading pathway that can lead you to the solutions to the ministry issues you may be facing.


CHURCH PLANTING |

APPROACHES

  • Carving the Table

    By Greg Blake

    The memoirs of the Chief Encouragement Officer Greg Blake. Perhaps you have seen him in action, now read whats behind the CEO of Pepworks International.

    When we first got married  my parents bought us a old dining table that had come out of a bakery in NY. We bought an old fashioned icepick and thought it would be a great practice to have people carve their name in our table when they came for a visit….well 41 years later we are still continuing the tradition. We have hundreds of signatures. My 4 kids have bought an old table and are continuing the practice with their families. We even have sanded out the names of old boyfriends who didn’t make the cut!
     
    (I just finished my memoirs called Carving the Table (available in ebook format on Amazon) Click Here to get a copy!
     
    When folks visit our church for the first time, Debbie and I invite them over to our home on a Friday evening (Family Night) to get to know them better. Very non-threatening. We will also find out their occupation and will do our best to match them with another couple with the same occupation so there is an immediate connection.
     
    Have had numerous couples join because of the personal interest in their lives. I tell people that you can’t get to know people in the foyer of a church Sunday morning doing small talk.
     
    Unfortunately today we have become too busy to invest our lives in others and ultimately eternity.
  • Church in the Making: What Makes or Breaks a New Church Before it Starts

    by Ben Arment. Publisher: B&H Books.

    Focuses on helping church planters maximize their effectiveness.

  • Church Merger

    By Richard Laribee

    Based on actual case studies rather than untested assumptions, this study considers:
    • What questions to ask before considering a church merger?
    • When is church merger a good strateg?
    • What are the goals for effective church mergers?
    • When are church mergers counter-productive?
    • How are effective church mergers implemented?

  • Contagious Disciple Making: Leading Others on a Journey of Discovery

    By David Watson and Paul Watson

    “It is hard to deny that todayÆs world can seem apathetic toward Christians. Some may look down at their iPhones when we mention God, motion for the check when we bring up church, or casually change the subject when we talk about prayer. In a world full of people whose indifference is greater than their desire to know Christ, how can we dream of growing the church?

    In Contagious Disciple Making, David Watson and Paul Watson map out a simple method that has sparked an explosion of homegrown churches in the United States and around the world. A companion to Cityteam’s two previous books, Miraculous Movements and The Father Glorified, Contagious Disciple Making details the method used by Cityteam disciple-makers. This distinctive process focuses on equipping spiritual leaders in communities where churches are planted. Unlike many evangelism and church-growth products that focus on quick results, contagious disciple-making takes time to cultivate spiritual leadership, resulting in lasting disciple-making movements. Through Contagious Disciple Making readers will come to understand that a strong and equipped leader will continue to grow the church long after church planters move on to the next church.

    Features include:

    • Engagement tools for use in the field
    • Practical techniques to equip others to make disciples”
  • Creating Your Church’s Culture: How to Uproot Mediocrity and Create a Healthy Organizational Culture

    By Stephen Blandino

    How do you create a thriving organizational culture in your church? Churches are committed to a spiritual mission, but it is often the organizational aspects of the church that hinder the mission from moving forward. Cultivating health in the organizational side of church culture requires a thorough understanding of the church’s vision, systems, staffing, relationships, and leadership. When the culture is healthy, it delivers consistently healthy outcomes that advance the mission of the church. But when cultures are unhealthy, or worse, toxic, they perpetuate constant dysfunction and derail the church’s purpose. In Creating Your Church’s Culture, Stephen Blandino gives you the tools and strategies to address the organizational side of your church’s culture. You’ll learn how to: 

    • Define your culture
    • Activate the Culture Equation
    • Hire staff who fit your culture
    • Infuse your values into your culture
    • Create a learning culture
    • Develop effective systems
    • Increase employee and volunteer engagement
    • Measure the health of your culture
    • Uproot bureaucracy 

    This practical book is loaded with wisdom and inspiration to help you improve the organizational aspects of your church’s culture. Plus, the book includes a culture assessment and implementation guide to help you apply what you are learning.

  • Effective Evangelistic Churches

    By Thom Rainer

    Part research project, part detective story, this book presents results from the most comprehensive study of successful churches in history. These 586 churches across America all excel in winning new souls for Christ, and have a remarkable range of things in common. Some stereotypes are shattered, some results are astonishing, and everything is written in a readable, non-technical style.– Includes churches with at least one baptism per 19 members annually– Churches range from 60 to 6,000 in membership; more than 2/3 claim 100-499 members– Reveals the seven evangelism tools most important to successful churches– Discusses popular misconceptions about church location, size, event evangelism and more

  • Get Their Name: Grow Your Church by Building New Relationships

    By Doug Anderson, Bob Farr, and Kay Kotan

    Change your church culture. Create an outwardly focused environment where hospitality and invitation happen Sunday and every day of the week. This book offers five steps to help congregations go public with their faith—from service projects to sharing the faith with persons who want to know more about Christ and thw church. This book offers tactics to increase individual and church competency with relational evangelism with friends, neighbors, and even strangers. Learn how to start up a conversation, follow up with contacts, and navigate unfamiliar settings. Learn what works and what doesn’t.

    We may think that just because we invite someone on our church property, they’ll come back. Often we don’t reach out to help people cross the faith line, because we’re uncomfortable with “evangelism” or just plain scared. Gain the confidence to share the good news boldly. After all, we know the name of the One who loves us all and who holds all power over heaven and earth.

  • It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It

    by Craig Groeschel

    “When Craig Groeschel founded LifeChurch.tv, the congregation met in a borrowed two-car garage, with ratty furnishings and faulty audiovisual equipment. But people were drawn there, sensing a powerful, life-changing force Groeschel calls “It.” What is It, and how can you and your ministry get — and keep — It? Combining in-your-face honesty with off-the-wall humor, Groeschel — one of today’s most innovative church leaders — provides profile interviews with Mark Driscoll, Perry Noble, Tim Stevens, Mark Batterson, Jud Wilhite, and Dino Rizzo. This book tells how any believer can obtain It, get It back, and guard It. “

     

  • Leading the DiscipleShift: Becoming a Disciple-Making Church

    by Brandon Guindon (Author) , Lance Wigton (Author) , Luke Yetter (Author)

    Equip church leaders with the tools and insights needed to rally people around renewed purpose. Drawing from biblical principles and the experience of Real Life Ministries, this workbook guides users to evaluate the power of ministry alignment and personal influence for the sake of each church’s God-given mission to make disciples.

    * 9 weeks of material designed for a church staff or ministry leadership team
    * Each week includes four personal exercises and one collaborative session for a team meeting
    * A thorough outline of practical steps for leading a new or established church toward a unified mission of disciple-making
    * Interactive workbook includes assessments for areas of ministry and leadership

  • Marketing for Church: Understanding the Basics

    by Dean Seddon

    This short book explains the basics of Marketing in a Christian context. This book explains the basics of marketing for use within churches and christian charities as well as give you some understanding regarding the principles of marketing succesfully.

    This mini book covers the two main concepts of marketing…

    The Four P’s – Product, Place, Price, Promotion
    The Four C’s – Consumer, Cost, Convenience, Communication

  • Planting Growing Churches for the 21st Century: A Comprehensive Guide for New Churches and Those Desiring Renewal

    by Aubrey Malphurs. Publisher: Baker.

    Focuses on planting healthy churches that can reach their culture

  • Planting Missional Churches

    by Ed Stetzer. Publisher: B & H Publishing Group.

    Instructional manual for planting externally focused churches

  • Spin-Off Churches: How One Church Successfully Plants Another

    by Rodney Harrison, Tom Cheyney, Don Overstreet. Publisher: B & H Academic.

    Helpful instruction as to how your church can plant another.

  • Starting a New Church: The Church Planter’s Guide to Success

    by Ralph Moore. Publisher: Regal.

    Focuses on creating new models for the post-modern generation.

  • Ten Prescriptions for a Healthy Church

    By Bob Farr and Kay Kotan

    Ten Prescriptions for a Healthy Church
    offers prescriptions for the top ten issues seen during church
    consultations. Bob Farr and Kay Kotan share their expertise from working
    with churches across the country, detailing the most common concerns
    and obstacles, and then go straight to the point: What to change, and
    how, for positive results. They offer a helpful approach to fixing
    common problems, and strategies to help congregations achieve success in
    specific areas of ministry. Proven success stories offer practical
    application, inspiration, and hope.

    I love the way this book addresses issues of mission, vision, worship,
    hospitality, outreach, and other important matters and offers concrete,
    pragmatic practices to fulfill these without compromising the gospel.
    This is a refreshing new guide for pastors and laity. –Tex Sample,
    Robert B. and Kathleen Rogers Professor Emeritus of Church and Society,
    Saint Paul School of Theology

    Bob and Kay have so much experience. They get it: the types of changes most
    churches need are not new. The pathway to health is not flashy. Basic,
    steady, strong: That is what you find in this very useful material. —
    Cathy Townley, Worship and Church Planting Consultant and Coach,
    Minnesota Annual Conference, UMC

    Bob Farr is a powerhouse of a leader who has a great grasp on what it takes
    for a congregation to discover the path toward vitality and health. As
    you read the prescriptions in this amazing book, you will see a catalyst
    for Jesus Christ. –Bob Crossman, New Church Strategist; author, Committed to Christ: Six Steps to a Generous Life

    Nobody is better than Bob and Kay at explaining the concept — and the
    specifics — of  ‘Prescriptions’ than can improve local church health.
    Very few people have spent more hours in church basements, parlors and
    sanctuaries across the country helping churches diagnose – and
    overcome—the real life problems they face.  Leveraging years of
    experience and insights, this book is an easy-to-use, instrumental tool
    for clergy and laity in churches that are willing to take definitive
    steps toward a new future. –Jim Ozier, Church Consultant, Coach,
    Speaker; author, Clip In: Risking Hospitality in Your Church

  • THE CHURCH: Why Bother?: The Nature, Purpose, & Functions of the Local Church

    By Jeffrey D. Johnson and Richard P. Belcher

    WHAT IS THE PURPOSE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST?

    “Since Christ loved the church enough to die for her, every believer ought to share that passion. Jeffrey Johnson clearly does, and I believe you will find his enthusiasm contagious.” John MacArthur

    In the Foreword he wrote for The Church: Why Bother?, Dr. Richard Belcher states, “This is the day and age of lawlessness and looseness both outside of God’s church and inside as well.” How heart-breaking, yet, how true. Everywhere we look these days, it seems there are “churches,” gatherings in the name of Jesus Christ, that more closely resemble the sinfulness of the unbelieving, Christ-rejecting world than the Lord and Savior who purchased His beloved church with his death and atoning blood. Today, more than ever, is a clear need for Christians to understand the nature, purpose, andfunctions of the local church.

    What are some of the questions to be answered concerning a biblical understanding of the local church?

    • Are Christians required to join themselves to a local church?
    • What are the responsibilities of church membership?
    • How is the church to be governed?

    The Church: Why Bother? provides clear biblical instruction upon…

    1. The NATURE of the Local Church versus the emphasis some place on the facilities wherein congregations gather.

    2. The PURPOSE of the Local Church in standing firm for the truth and fostering unity and community in the pursuit of purity and holiness.

    3. The CULTURE of the Local Church in its motives and motivations versus minimizing the holiness of God’s people and the unholiness of the world.

    4. The ACTIVITIES of the Local Church in our worship of God through preaching the Word, prayer, fellowship, ordinances and song versus a focus and emphasis on programs.

    5. The WORSHIP of God in the Local Church with attention to God through Christ as opposed to an emphasis upon self; of striving for biblical regulated worship in our services than a free-for-all that falls far short of the glory of God.

  • The High Definition Leader: Building Multiethnic Churches in a Multiethnic World

    By Derwin L. Gray

    The United States is know as the “Great Melting Pot,” yet a survey of our churches on Sunday Morning would reveal a noticeably different portrait of our ethnic make-up. Every facet of American culture is multi-ethnic. Yet, the Church is not. The church is segregated. Drawing from scripture, Derwin shows how the modern church is suffering from being homogenous and how we are not fulfilling our calling as effectively as we should be.

    The High-Definition Leader is a call for churches and their leaders to grow out of ignorance, class-ism, racism, and greed into a flourishing and vibrant community of believers united in their devotion to serving God and sharing His love with the world.

  • The Nuts and Bolts of Church Planting: A Guide for Starting Any Kind of Church

    by Aubrey Malphurs. Publisher: Baker.

    Focuses on foundational exercises to create a workable ministry design.

  • There Is No Time

    by J. Paul Nyquist. Publisher: Avant Ministries.

    Focuses on planting churches where there are none.

  • Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers

    by Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird. Publisher: Regal Books.

    Focuses on developing church planting in your DNA
    (Full review provided by a real-life church planter)

    Click to see full review

    This Review was provided by Andrew Warde, a Church Planter in Maine

    Purpose:
    The subtitle of this book is “Helping Church Planters become Movement Makers.” That pretty much says it all. Stetzer and Bird largely assume that if you are a Christian that you are interested (or preferably involved) in church planting. The purpose of Viral Churches is to “inspire and help you develop a church multiplication movement–an exponential birth of new churches that engage lost people and that replicate themselves through even more new churches” (5).

    Content:
    The book leads you on a mental journey from your status quo (church planting, fingers crossed) to the author’s preferred reality (church multiplication). Each chapter is dedicated to one specific concept, and the authors have kindly included an example of a church or movement that they believe exemplifies this principle. This book discusses the need for church multiplication, the necessity of evangelism, and the dire lack of leaders in the church. The church needs to actively develop leaders if it is going to have the capacity to reach this generation. Viral Churches also discusses the process of training, launching, and streamlining networks of churches.

    Analysis:
    I loved the fact that they weren’t trying to shove one method or one group down your throat. There is definitely room for such books, but it is wonderful to read a book that was much more concerned with the destination than the precise path traveled. Chapter 6 demonstrates that proper recruitment, assessment, and deployment all contribute to the viability of a church plant, but shows a variety of ways by which each of these points can be accomplished.

    Application:
    Who will benefit from the book?
    Any pastor or church planter who is concerned about the growing population of the globe and the current inability of the church to keep pace will benefit from this book. Those who already have this burden will benefit greatly from the mechanics and examples that Viral Churches provide.

    How will they benefit?
    This book will radically transform your vision of what God could and desires to accomplish in this world. It will give some practical suggestions for making this possible. It also identifies some pitfalls that will thwart even the best of intentions.

    Where does this book fit into the process of ministry design?
    Any pastor who is looking for what God has called their church to do in this lifetime should consider reading this book. Church planters are more likely to adopt the principles in this book as they are already vested in starting a new work of God rather than maintaining existing works. These concepts might be rather daunting to those in previously established works as it is so far from the realm of their thinking, but if you find yourself in this category, it’s probably all the more reason that you should read this book.

    Aha Thoughts:
    The concept of deliberately building church multiplication into your DNA from the very first day was revolutionary.
    One impediment to church multiplication has been the development of a professional clergy that limits ministry to the ordained.

  • Vital Merger: A New Church Start Approach that Joins Church Families Together

    By Dirk Elliott (Author)