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on December 15, 2009
I was looking for a good book on church planting... I had been a church planter for a year! Before I picked up J.D. Payne's book I wasted a lot of time with other church planting books. After disapointment with many books, I just decided to read sections of the Bible like Acts and 1Timothy for advice on church planting.
Here's what I want you to remember from this: other books talked about gimmicks and tricks to get people into your church, but in the Bible I saw that there was a lot more to church planting than just following "white flight" to the suberbs.
My friend suggested Payne's book, and maybe I took a gamble--but it was worth it!
This book Discovering Church Planting gives you a biblical picture of how and why church planting works. When I read this book I thought, "Here is a man who has been studying those same passages of the Bible for his whole life!"
I guarantee you want this book in your library. If you're a layman, get this book! America is in need of church planters, and this book will help you understand how missionaries are planting churches at home and abroad.
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on November 14, 2009
Last month, I read and reviewed Ed Stetzer's Planting Missional Churches, the first book in my current foray into church planting resources. This week, I just finished reading Discovering Church Planting by J.D. Payne, and it served as a perfect companion piece to Stetzer's work. Much like Stetzer, Payne - who is a Professor of Church Planting at Southern Seminary here in Louisville and an elder at Crossing Church - takes his theological and practical knowledge and looks at the task of church planting from just about every angle imaginable. However, whereas Stetzer's focus was much more deeply rooted in the nuts-and-bolts practical stuff (for example, including chapters on facility selection, financial setup, and church naming), Payne paints with a broader brush, spending more time on the theological and writing what could most accurately be described as a 400-page philosophy of church planting. In short, if Stetzer tells you how, Payne tells you why.

Now admittedly, that's an oversimplification. Just as Stetzer spends time on the theological and biblical underpinnings of planting, so Payne talks through some practical considerations. However, even these chapters are much more philosophically driven. For example, his very helpful chapter "Tentmaking and Church Planting," on bi-vocational planting, explores practical issues of financial support and its entailing stresses but also offers an overarching view on why self-supported planting is often a better way rather than a last resort. He not only says, "Here are the practical outworkings of bi-vocational planting," but also, "Here's what kind of statement bi-vocational planting makes about the gospel." The way he applies this "big picture" mentality across the spectrum of the planting process was tremendously helpful and has given me a lot of food for thought.

The book is stuffed full of good information. Three historical chapters focusing on Moravian, Methodist, and Baptist planting movements were especially worthwhile reading, and the summary questions and extensive bibliography and notes will be a great resource for further discussion and study. Though, at times that information, one of the book's greatest assets, can be a liability. While great quotes on planting and excerpts from other works litter the book, the way that these items are interspersed and arranged seems a bit disjointed and can often break the flow of the chapter, making the information difficult to process. Payne's writing style, much like Stetzer's, is very simple and straightforward, which makes the book very accessible but not quite as engaging as it could have been. Let me be clear, though - these are minor stylistic quibbles. J.D. Payne has written a book that will be a blessing to church planters the world over and has earned a place in my library right next to Ed Stetzer.
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on November 18, 2015
I have known of and followed JD Payne for several years through a relationship with former IMB missionary and church planter Charles Brock of Church Growth International. I've also read lots of other church planting books and planted churches myself among Spanish-speakers over the years. As a church planting practitioner, I can state without hesitation that this work is about as Biblical - and therefore sound - as it gets. Unlike too many of today's planters (and yesterday's), Payne does not have "building envy" and does not advocate for an attractional model that ends up filling the seats with unhappy church-goers. Rather, he is all about simply reaching lost people and making disciples out of them. Again, it's almost Biblical... I had several of my student missionaries and church planters read it before getting started. One guy, who supposedly was experienced, well-educated (working on DMin), and well-read, remarked after reading it, "This is great stuff. You should require all the planters to read this!" Why do you think YOU are reading it now? Get this book. Read it. Put it into practice. Let the Holy Spirit lead as you sow the Seed of the Word in the hearts of those who need to hear today the Good News of Jesus Christ.
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on June 10, 2014
This book in my opinion was okay. There is a lot of good information included but I thought the author attempted to do too much with this book. I wasn't sure if the audience was USA church planters or international church planters because, again, there was information that seemed to pertain to both groups. While this may seem to be a benefit, I thought that it was a weakness.

This book may be most helpful as an introductory text for someone who has never heard or read anything about church planting. If you've been around the block some, you may want to look at books that are more focused.
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VINE VOICEon December 9, 2009
Payne's almost encyclopedic book on church planting is built the theme of discovery in four main sections: 1) Discovering Biblical and Theological Foundations; 2) Discovering Missiological Principles; 3) Discovering Historical Paradigms, and 4) Discovering Contemporary Issues.

One of the pioneers in training and writing on church planting, David Hesselgrave, states in the foreword that this work is "one of the finest book on church planting to appear in recent years" (xxi).

This reviewer appreciates the fact that Payne does not start with the practice of church planting but rather its biblical and theological foundations. Nevertheless having laid that foundation, he deals with what we can learn about church planting in missiology, history, and then speaks to current issues in church planting.

At the end of each chapter there is a helpful summary, questions for reflection, and a list of important terms discussed in church planting.

This book should be a standard text on church planting for years to come since it deals with the major issues and yet seeks to be practical. How much I wish I would have had a helpful book like this before I started church planting in Europe.

I will be using and recommending this book as I work with church planters in various parts of the world.
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on December 22, 2009
As I recently read this work, I am happy to report in on it for a couple of reasons. One, it is not just for church planters. While church planting is a work that few too many churches are involved in, the considerations that need to be given to planting a church are also considerations that established churches need to revisit. 'Evangelism which results in new churches' is the same evangelism that many of us have lost! So as the book considers church planting from this perspective, it is helpful for established churches. Secondly, the reflection questions are worth reflecting on. Payne does not insist that you agree with him and his methods/models, but does encourage reflection on the issues. Much personal application can be made from reading this book.
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on July 4, 2013
Just read the first pages of reviews by respected scholars. This guy gets it. Very well written by a very knowledgeable man. This was the first book my pastor recommended to me as I venture into church planting.
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on October 23, 2009
I am a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and I read this book for my class Introduction to Church Planting. Of all the books that we read for this class, I can honestly say that this book by far outshined the others. It manages to strike a solid balance of theological and practical material and would be an extremely helpful book for someone looking to get an overarching grasp of the fundamentals of biblical church planting. I spent a summer with a North American Mission Board church planter in Brooklyn, and this book helped prepare and equip me for my time there. Overall, the book is biblically grounded, well-balanced, culturally appropriate, and historically informed. I would highly recommend it!
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on November 28, 2013
Excellent book on Church Planting. I plan on having the church planters I am in contact with and mentoring read this. Very helpful insight on the different facets of church planting that need to be considered. I was inspired by the historical stories in the U.S. for a zealous movement of church planting to spread like wildfire again. Personally, one should link spiritual awakening/ revival with church planting in order for there to be community transformation to allegiance to King Jesus!
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on October 9, 2009
What exactly is church planting? The book defines it simply as "evangelism that results in new churches." This is a practical work which not only tells what to do but how to do it. A helpful framework is provided for evaluating church models. The reflection questions at the end of each chapter encourage immediate application. Throughout the emphasis is not on what methods are successful or culturally accepted, but on what the Scripture says about church planting by drawing on New Testament examples. The author draws on his experience planting churches and working with church planters. The book is well researched and up-to-date with short reviews of other books and frequent references to other resources for further information.
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