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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2011
I honestly felt like I got ripped off because of how highly rated it came. That says more about the person who referred it than the book.

My favorite thing about the book is that it really helps bring information that needs to be focused when trying to start a church. That information will be used as we plant our church.

My biggest disagreement with the book is the premise that launching is better than planting. I understand where the authors are coming from, and I believe that they probably were doing more than what the book went into, but the book is what I had to read. I really do believe that God is more interested in growing through a plant like model than burst like model.

My least favorite thing about the book was the lists that were meant to be funny, but made me wonder why I spent the money. Before certain sections, there would be a list such as "Rejected Titles for Launch." One in particular really turned me off: "Starting Churches by Dummies," or something along those words. I do not want authors to be over-arrogant, but at the same time, I believe they should not put so much ink in putting down their own book. It wasn't funny.


I originally wrote this review about 2 1/4 years ago. Since that time, I have found the book to be very superficial. Everything is based on the event model - stage an event for people to come to. Make worship that event and people will come. The problem is that most unchurched people I have talked to would rather be a part of a church that cares for them than one that stages events to get minimal information from them and use it to propagate their churches.

I know of several who have followed this model and have done well. As we attempted to do this it felt so against what it meant to be church that we started over.

Finally, looking back, I think what I appreciated the most about the book was the authors' unwavering enthusiasm.
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55 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2007
I like this book, but I have issues with it as well. I like the fact that they are more practical than theoretical. That said, I find it a bit too broad bushing. They imply that if someone plants a church and doesn't follow their advice, then that person is going down the wrong path or cannot succeed. I think they have great ideas, but I have no doubt that God can use different methods in different cultural settings. One church planted in NY doesn't make one an expert on church planting nationwide. I have read other books from men who have planted multiple churches on multiple occasions in multiple areas of the nation who come to different conclusions on methodology than do Searcy and Thomas. I tend to lean toward the guys who have done it several times. Time will tell whether or not this book and the methods promoted within it are timeless or trendy.

Finally, I don't like the emphasis on numbers as being the barometer for health. We have been meeting with our core group for 4 months now and I have seen phenomenal growth with few numbers added. Perhaps their background with Saddleback has influenced them to be numbers driven. It's Christ who grows the church anyway, and He is sovereign and will build according to his free will.
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66 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2007
Sorry to use a quote from the movie "Wall Street," but that basically sums up how I feel about this book.

Having attended and served at the Journey, the church where Nelson and Kerrick (the authors) pastor, I see how they have valid points in building a church. However, I am concerned because of how "success" is defined. The Journey, their church, has an average attendance over four services of approximately 1100-1300 people, depending on the Sunday. However, most people attend the church for a year or just slightly more, before they leave to go to another church or drop out of church entirely. How "successful" is a church if the attendance keeps changing?

Also, did the Journey really start from scratch? I would argue that it didn't. It had a great deal of support from large megachurches such as Saddleback and other Southern Baptist organizations. The Journey has been meeting at the Manhattan Center at 34th and 8th for over two years at a cost of approximately $7000 to $10000 per week just for the rental of the space. Only in the last year did the church become self-sustaining.

If you want a Madison Avenue/Purpose Driven Church formula for how to start a megachurch that recycles messages every single year (every year they do a series on relationships/sex/love, every year they do a series on finances/money/tithing, every year they do a watered-down Christian self-help book everyone in the church is required to read) and church that defines success by quantity (attendance numbers) as opposed to changed lives/discipleship/devotion/commitment...well, this is right up your alley.

As for me, I'd rather read the Bible. Everything you need to know about the CHURCH is in that book.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2007
I have been very blessed by reading the principles in this book. I have planted a church in New York, and it is not easy. However, Nelson has done it, and is doing it as he writes. Although I dont personally agree with all of there philosophy of ministry, i do think that the benefits of this book far outweigh the loss of not reading it. after reading this book and meeting nelson and tomas at a recent roundtable conference, I have adapted many ideas from them and am convinced they are building a ministry as a model in which we can all benefit. If you have issues with saddleback, or contemporary churches, you should not let that mentality keep you from benefitting from the wealth of insight and ides this book has. Wothwhile read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2008
i'm not much on following formulas which is why liked "launch" by nelson searcy and kerrick thomas. i just finished it after a long "on again / off again" reading of it. the book is a good resource on planting churches. there was a wealth of what not to do and what to do within it's pages. thankfully it walked the fine line of offering helpful advice without jumping into the egotistical mindset of telling you exactly that you should plant the church in just this manner. i like it when people acts as guides rather than experts. i am presently using and will continue to use a good bit of what i read within "launch." if you believe GOD my be calling you to plant a church the book is well worth your time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2010
I usually find reading books on Church planting to be rather short on practical advice and rather long on pontificating. "Launch", while written from a slanted perspective (Evangelical mega-church in a mega-sized city) contains the most practical advice I have ever read in a book on the topic, and I have read plenty. While I share other reviewer's concerns about the heavy use of attendence numbers as a barometer for Church health, I also understand that the goal is not to develop a small group, or even a cadre of small groups, but a larger body in which smaller groups will naturally coalesce. This is an undertone throughout the book that I think many are missing.

Further, while the authors encourage you to 'think big' and remind the reader frequently that God is 'bigger than you can imagine', there is a subtle reminder that seems to flow with those thoughts which reminds the reader to pray and plan based on local realities. New York is not Small Town USA. Aiming for 300 may be an NYC benchmark of success, but perhaps 75 on launch day is a 'big thinking' goal for Small Town USA. I don't feel that the book goes too far afield in saying that you have to be forming a mega-church, though that is obviously what the authors felt lead to do.

All in all, this was the most interesting Church planting book I have read, filled with humor (at times self-depricating humor, which I tend to find enjoyable), practical advice, and real encouragement for those who are struggling with the next step in planting a thriving congregation for Christ.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2008
This was one of the best books that I have read! I got the book on Thursday, finished it on Friday. I could not put the book down, because it kept my attention the whole time. We are in the process of planting a church and I am a Church Consultant. Therefore, I do a lot of research on church planting. I must admit that I was a little skeptical, because of the emphasis of some books on numbers and not souls, and also I was concerned about doing gimmics to get people, but with in the end having no sustainability. This book has been the most helpful and the most practical book that I have read pertaining to this subject. Most books are filled with theory and not priciple, and with oppinions and not systems. If you are wondering about a church plant strategy that will be beneficial to the future and sustainability to your church, this is the book for you. Searcy and Thomas have givin us a great treat in this book and has shown us a more practical, comprehensive, systems apporoach to church plant. It was worth every dime spent and every minute invested:)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2007
This is highly practical, step by step guide and coaching playbook to launch a church! Get ready to find one of the greatest resources in helping you figure out the priorities, processes and strategies for effectively realizing the picture of this new church you have been called to launch. This book demonstrates that Kerrick and Nelson care about seeing people succeed in launching churches and impacting the lostness of this world. They approach the process very seriously, yet do so with wit and fun that will keep you reading all the way through it. Hey... they can laugh at themselves, talk about failures in their own process of launching a church together, and at the same time encourage and motivate you to press on. If you are even pondering and praying about launching a church... if you are half way through the process... or if you are well into your first year... wherever you are at...YOU CANNOT GO WRONG.... order this book, read it, highlight it, approach it with openness, and follow their wisdom and experience, and look out at what God will do!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2013
I didn't understand that it was NOT necessary to order a copy of the book for every person who was involved with just one launch. So I ended up with 10 extra copies that just sit on a shelf...would like to just return them for a refund..? Another thing the book never address someone who is not connected to a denomination or is actually starting a church from scratch without church connections of a denomination. Having started a number of churches over the past 40 years...some in relationship with a denomination and some completely independent with no connection...I found nothing, no information of help about the process of filing for a non profit church status. Fortunately, I had done it before but the book is written with a lot of assumptions.

There were some good ideas but very little was really applicable to really "doing it!" without the financial support of some churches or individuals. Faith also has to have some responsibilities and "not everybody" should be encouraged to max out their credit cards along with a few potential staffers to start a church. Finding a Music / a good Christian Guitar Player sometimes isn't as easy as the book states. If you are in a huge Church like Saddleback etc. or any significant church it is a starting point. But there are a lot of things that would need to be addressed.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2007
Launch delivers what it promises -- a clear, reliable guide to planting new churches. It follows a particular model, with which some may find fault, but it serves as a good primer for executing that model. Adequate attention is directed at the role of Christ in the establishing of his church, though one may still bristle at the formulaic approach.

The open question here is the same as in Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Church": Can description (of what happened) really translate into prescription (of what you should do)?

You'll never know until you actually try to plant a church this way. And even if that effort should fail, it's hard to diagnose the cause of failure. Perhaps that's why such "how to" books are great. They can never be disproved by failure, only affirmed by success. If the new church soars, the author's share credit. If it flops, the planter gets the blame alone.
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