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Magnify Your Vision for the Small Church Paperback – January 15, 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"I have been moved, enlightened and enthused by this book. It communicates effectively and motivationally to pastors and people from smaller congregations. I also think it has much to say for those who are serving larger churches. The book is very practical. Local assemblies that want to become "Great Commission Churches" can use it as a manual. I am praying that our Lord will use it to motivate and mobilize scores - even hundreds and thousands - for the glory of God and the advancement of the Kingdom." -- Dr. Paul Cedar Former President, Evangelical Free Church of America President, Mission America

"This book did something I never expected - it made me cry. Tears of joy and gratitude flowed more than once as I read the story of how God chose ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference in a faraway culture and a very different place than suburban Atlanta. Gone forever is my superior attitude that insists on professionals for the job of world evangelization. Yes, training matters, but heart and grit took this church further than many would ever venture - even with the best of credentials. This is a story that every pastor should read, then lead his church into similar action." -- Woody Phillips President, United World Mission Board Chairman, ACMC

From the Publisher

As a national leader from former Yugoslavia, I have witnessed the efforts of dozens of organizations and churches that desired to bring relief and hope to millions of desperate people caught in the crossfire of the war in Croatia and Bosnia. It has been a blessing to see God's people around the world respond with compassion to the desperate situation in the Balkans. They all deserve special commendation for ministry done in the name of Jesus during this difficult time in our history. Few are more deserving however, than my good friend John Rowell and his congregation at Northside Community Church.

This book is the incredible testimony of God's hand directing this small congregation to become involved in the midst of our mayhem. Beginning in 1992, Northside Community Church allowed itself the freedom to dare "dreaming in the Spirit" as it reached far beyond the limits of its size to sustain a vital contribution to our denomination's attempt to serve Bosnian refugees. I commend this congregation for its incarnational approach to ministry, sharing the love of Christ and the gospel message while living among Bosnian refugees during the war. We have come to deeply appreciate this church's faithful service as a valuable long-term partner in ministry.

In a message offered in Northside's mission conference in March 1998 I noted that this church has done more to reach Bosnians with the gospel of Jesus Christ than the rest of America's churches all together. My comments were not an exaggeration! From my perspective the kingdom could be advanced more effectively in many parts of the world if more churches of every size would seize upon this example of partnership and follow it. Northside's story will be invaluable for anyone wishing to better understand the pathways that can lead to effective cross-cultural cooperation in modern missions.

I recommend Magnify Your Vision for the Small Church as a must read for anyone involved in missions or in training others for mission service. I am praying that this book will inspire others to take more innovative approaches to ministry on the remaining mission fields of the world. We need the fresh wind of the Spirit to blow as we enter a new millennium of ministry opportunity. May we all follow the example of this relatively small church and commit ourselves to emulate their passion and their capacity for dreaming in the Spirit! (Dr. Peter Kuzmic, President of the Evangelical Church of Croatia, Founder and Director of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Osijek, Croatia)


Product Details

  • Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: ACW Press (January 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966885309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966885309
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,181,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

I found this book to be one of the most thought-provoking mission books I've read in the last several years. Not only does it tell the amazing story of how God used a small church that stepped out in faith, but it spells out the biblical principles behind the story. It repeatedly drives home the point that "It is not the size of our resource pool, but the limits of our faith and our vision that determines our impact for the kingdom of God." While this goes totally contrary to our American "bigger is better" mentality,it is a message that the North American evangelical church needs to hear.
"Magnify Your Vision For The Small Church" should be read by the pastor/leadership/missions team of every small church and also by the leadership of every mission agency. I believe God can use this book to unleash what is undoubtedly the greatest untapped resource for the cause of world evangelization - the small local church.
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By PR on June 14, 2013
Verified Purchase
This is an amazing story of a very small church who sought to have a global impact. Without giving too much away, this church sent members of the congregation to war torn Bosnia-Herzegovina on missions trips. These were un-trained missionaries. God provided the assets, opened doors, and the local church grew in number. They were actually given—GIVEN an entire new building complete with furnishings, office equipment, and supplies here in the States as they continued to give to those in a war zone. Again, this is an amazing story.
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By A Customer on June 9, 1999
It has been rightly said, "A church which is not mission-minded has ceased to be the church. It has lost the Gospel and is dead to the Cross." John Rowell's deeply moving book, "Magnify Your Vision for the Small Church," is the story of the evolution of Northside Community Church, a small church in the USA from the typical approach to missions, applying $12,000 to world missions from the general budget, to a church mobilizing its whole membership into church planting teams, adventuring by faith into a dangerous and desperately needy part of the world to reach an unreached Muslim people group.
The journey began by exploring ways of maximizing the impact of their limited financial resources by identifying and partnering with gifted national evangelists on the front lines of evangelism in Africa and Asia.
Then came the next step, from supporting to sending. By adopting the "Faith Promise" approach to mission giving, resources grew to match the challenge of sending someone from their own membership into the field. Laurie Nelson, a skilled computer programmer became the first full-time misisonary mobilized by the church. Within just a few years Northside had members serving as new missionaries or tent-makers in Russia, Singapore, Germany and Japan.
The third step was the call to adopt an unreached people group. "Professional missiologists taught us that as a mission-minded church, we should give priority attention to identifying a specific unreached people group target of our own - one for which we could pray and toward which we could plan to take the Gospel.
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Bill Smith, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. I highly recommend this book for pastors of small churches, missionaries, church planters, or anyone interested in what God can do through ordinary people. It sets forth some challenging ideas in the most effective format, a story. What makes the book so compeling is that the story is true.
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In this day when the emphasis is bigger and better, sadly, the same attitude has hit the small church. As one who visits nationally with pastors and missions committees of these churches who mostly are under 200 in membership, I often get the sense these churches feel their worthlessness and insignificance in the Kingdom of God. As a result, they feel the need to trust what little they are willing to do into the hands of the "professionals", those who they feel are better equipped to work in the international arena.
John Rowell's book gives hope and shines fresh light on how a small church can do great exploits for God. And really this is not a new concept. Going back to the church in Antioch which sent out Barnabas, Paul and John Mark, Rowell shows God is still perfectly capable of using anyone, or in this case, any church He desires. And it still is true, availability is far more important to God than is ability.
The case study in this book is the Northside Church's involvement in Kosovo, an area where most churches in the US would never ever launch a work. Yet Kosov is exactly where they sense God's leading. And they are quick to try and find the indigenous church to work with and partner alongside them.
Frankly, this book should be required reading of every pastor and of every seminary student and of course for everyone interested in missions. Were Rowell's principles to be seriously considered, who knows how much more could be accomplished in the Kingdom of God using the current amount of money and manpower we now have available. (Not to mention how involving church members in the pews would bring even more in churches into the mission fields.)
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