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Church Planting Is for Wimps: How God Uses Messed-up People to Plant Ordinary Churches That Do Extraordinary Things (9Marks) Paperback – April 1, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I love Mike McKinley's writing. Church Planting is For Wimps is an engaging book that weaves together personal story, theological reflection, practical suggestion, and great humor. This is a book that will be of great benefit to pastors who are thinking of giving up on their churches."
J. D. Greear, Lead Pastor, The Summit Church, Durham, North Carolina; author, Jesus, Continued...Why the Spirit Inside You Is Better than Jesus Beside You

“Mike knows a lot about the ups and downs of church planting, and he writes about it with all the honesty and humor necessary for laboring in God’s grace. There’s no airbrushing of difficulties. And there are no oppressive ‘be wonderful like me’ gimmicks. If you want to think, learn, and laugh all at once, read this book. Whether you’re a church planter, on a church-planting team, or an established pastor whose church wants to be more involved in church planting, you’ll find this book a refreshing, grace-filled, hopeful, and useful excursion into the sometimes dizzying world of church planting.”
Thabiti M. AnyabwilePastor, Anacostia River Church, Washington, D. C.; author, What Is a Healthy Church Member?

About the Author

Mike McKinley (MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary) is senior pastor of Sterling Park Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia. Formerly, he served on staff alongside Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. He is the author of a number of books, including Am I Really a Christian? and Church Planting Is for Wimps.

DARRIN PATRICK is the vice president of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network and the founding pastor of the Journey Church in St. Louis. He has served in ministry for twenty years and speaks regularly at pastor’s conferences and training events for church planters. 

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Product Details

  • Series: 9Marks
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433514974
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433514975
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #532,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As you might be able to tell from the cover, this is a book that doesn't take itself too seriously. The author writes in a very conversational, humorous style that is a pleasure to read, while covering some weighty topics and revealing some deep truths about the nature of ministry in general, and church planting in particular.

This book is not a "how-to" manual for starting a new church. Rather, it is a very personal book telling the author's own story. Mike McKinley did not actually plant a new church. He did something much harder. He went into a small, all-but-dead church to revitalize its ministry. This is where the title of the book originates. Someone once told the author that "church planting is for wimps", because those starting a new church can set things up however they like from the get-go. Comparatively, revitalizing a dead or dying church is much more difficult.

McKinley makes clear, however, that this is not really his position on church planting. ALL church planters are doing a great work, and though the challenges are different for planters and revitalizers, they are both God-sized tasks that are accomplished through "wimps" who ultimately can do nothing of eternal value on their own. As the author says, "God is more passionate about spreading his gospel than we are. We only need to be passionate about following his lead and trusting him for his provision."

What I appreciated most about this book was the author's high view of the church, and the optimism with which he approaches small, "dead" churches. Too often, Christians are content to see small churches with no visible "fruit" in a way that seems content to let them just die.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
McKinley, Mike. 2010. Church Planting is for Wimps: How God Uses Messed-up People to Plant
Ordinary Churches That Do Extraordinary Things. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

I was not sure that I would review this book since I work with cross-cultural church planters most of the time but decided that in spite of its more American cultural setting, it had value for those of other cultures. The title is somewhat misleading since the book is more about "replanting" or "revitalizing" a church rather than planting one from the ground up. The title uses the word "wimp" which is an American colloquialism for a weak person. The implication is that church revitalization as church planting is more of a challenge than church planting with no previous core group.

I am not sure that I agree with the author in one sense but we often hear the expression in reference to church planting that one of the reasons for it is that "it is easier to have a baby than to raise the dead." This implies it is almost impossible to take an older church and rejuvenate it than to plant a new church.

When one reads some of the difficulties that McKinley goes through in trying to change a small church that was dying, one begins to understand some of the great obstacles in trying to change an existing older church. McKinley explains, "Whereas a new church planter can build from scratch, a revitalizer has to do some tearing down first. And this is not usually well received. If the church had wanted to do the things that healthy churches do, it wouldn't be dead" (34). If you sense God is leading you to revitalize an existing church, here is some help for you.
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Format: Paperback
Pros: The work is clear, friendly, witty, modern. It is story based so it is easy to read and exciting,the author is coming out of Dever's church so he has wisdom beyond his years and Dever's theology echoes in the background. He graduated from Westminster Seminary so he is above average intelligence, his subject matter is applicable and concise, it was meant to be a kind of story/hodge podge of practical advice. It has en excellent chapter on the import of prioritizing your marriage (as one reviewer noted) and reclaiming it from work-a-holism. Excellent insight that people's initial instict is to do "everthing backward" by focusing on the general congregation rather than your leaders and then delegating.

Cons: This is no ecclesiology, nor does it represent good theological thinking. It was disappointing how little 1 Tim. 3 or Titus 1 played into the author's thinking, which clearly emphasize family over ministry. One cannot help but feel the author needed a great deal more ecclesiological training due to some very obvious (sadly) mistakes.

However, if you are unaware of #1 the tendency of pastors/churchplanters/leaders in general to be workaholics, or #2 that the first thing you always focus on in any endeavor to lead is to train your own leaders and work from the top down, then this book is for you.

Though the book has serious limitations, nevertheless it has some helpful insights as well, and McKinley's zeal for Christ and His Bride really comes through. It's a nice, light, encouraging work to breeze through
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