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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

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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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #786,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John Gardner on May 20, 2010
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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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Robert J. Vajko VINE VOICE on May 13, 2010
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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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Collier on October 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Based on the title alone, I am not sure I would have bought and read Church Planting is for Wimps (2010, Crossway). Wimps? Really? But I met Mike McKinley and heard him speak at a conference earlier this year. After that, I HAD to read the book!

McKinley is pastor at Guilford Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia. I previously reviewed Am I Really a Christian?

Church Planting Is for Wimps is the story of McKinley's move from being on staff at Capitol Hill Baptist Church preparing to plant to taking on the role of revitalizing the existing Guilford Baptist Church.

I have only one quibble with this book, and it is admittedly a small one. The title leads to the assumption it is about church planting. The story is one of church revitalization. While there is much overlap, they are not the same. Please do not let that stop you--or even slow you down--from reading this book! That detail is quickly forgotten and the book is too practical not to read.

McKinley tells not only the story of his church, he does so in the context of his own story. This is not a method or plan or strategy that would work for every church planter. But with who God crafted him to be, it was a good fit. Instead of reading the book as a how-to manual, read the stories and look for the principles; they work with anyone's story.

One of the things I most appreciate about the author is his transparency. While not going into unnecessary detail, he is honest about the hardships of planting a church, especially on his marriage.
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