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Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers Hardcover – April 26, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0470550458 ISBN-10: 0470550457 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (April 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470550457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470550458
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Viral Churches

Recent years have seen a clear increase in church planting enthusiasm across the globe. As church leaders look for ways to start multiple new congregations that in turn reproduce virally, they need credible information, healthy examples, and reliable guidance.

Based on a national, cross-denominational study commissioned by Leadership Network, Viral Churches outlines the best practices in church multiplication movements and reveals the common threads among them. A hands-on resource, Viral Churches offers the fresh vision and critical perspectives essential as a catalyst fortoday's church planting leaders.

Authors Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird draw from their own experiences, the insights of numerous pioneering leaders, and what was arguably the nation's largest research project on church multiplication. They show leaders how to plant churches that multiply into a movement, and they offer inspiration for the need to do so. Filled with illustrative stories from successful church planters, this important book outlines practical ideas that are essential to the success of church multiplication networks. Each chapter highlights a different point on such issues as keeping the focus on evangelism; recruiting, assessing, and deploying planters; increasing the survivability of new churches; using a multisite strategy effectively; funding; overcoming obstacles; facing challenges ahead; and many more.

Throughout the book, Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird advocate the core belief that "Church planting is good. A vision for a church multiplication movement is better."

From the Back Cover

Praise for Viral Churches

"This book by . . . my dear friends and partners in ministry . . . is pure gold. . . .There is simply no better way to reach, teach, train, and send out disciples than through churches that are planted with the intentionality of planting others."

Rick WarrenSaddleback Church

"This book is for those who want to go from making adent to making a difference."

Mark Driscoll Mars Hill Church (www.marshillchurch.org), Acts 29 Network, The Resurgence

"There is no doubt that the idea of exponentially reproducing church isthe next step, providing us with perhaps the only viable way forward toovercome the current impasse of Christianity in the West. In Viral Churches,Ed and Warren team up to produce a characteristically well researched,missiologically hefty, and definitive book for our times."

Alan Hirschauthor, The Forgotten Ways, and coauthor, Untamed

"Ed Stetzer's experience in planting churches and training pastors makeshim one of today's most experienced and trusted voices. He has an ability to take research and make it applicable to this generation's Christian leaders.I applaud his efforts to build spiritual movements everywhere."

Steve Douglasspresident, Campus Crusade for Christ International


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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This book is full of valuable, insightful material.
Pat's Review
Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird's new book, Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers, packs a punch like no other church planting book I've read.
Amazon Customer
I would recommend this book to any future church planter; a must read for sure.
Matt Kluttz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 13, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird's new book, Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers, packs a punch like no other church planting book I've read. Stetzer and Bird, both experienced church planters turned missional researchers, deliver compelling examples of real churches engaged in church multiplication strategies. These networks of church planters are reshaping the theology, philosophy, and execution of sustainable church planting in ways not seen since the Baptists and Methodists struck out across America in the 1800's planting congregations.

Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, and Warren Bird, director of the research division of Leadership Network, teamed up to study over 200 church-planting churches, 100-leaders, 45 church planting networks, 84 organic church leaders, 12 church planting experts, 53 colleges and seminaries, 54 doctoral dissertations, 41-journal articles, and 100+ church planting books and manuals -- all with the goal of understanding this new surge of church planting multiplication that is sweeping America.

The premise of the book is church planting must shift from growth by addition to break-out surges through church multiplication. In other words, Stetzer and Bird contend that churches-planting- churches is the winning strategy to meet the Great Commission challenge in America.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Gibbs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
After decades of net decline, more churches are now being started each year in the US (4,000) than are closing (3,500), according to Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird in this book. Although some of the church planting activity (around 12%) is coming from denominations, and some from individual churches, most is coming from networks of church-planting churches.

Churches which operate amongst ethnic groups are finding strong responsiveness to the gospel. Churches involved in planting are among the healthiest churches because of their emphasis on recruiting and training leaders. A church which sponsors a new church typically experiences increased worship attendance and giving over the following five years. Planter assessment, training and coaching are key predictors of planting success. Four years after planting, 68% of new churches have survived, 62% have achieved financial independence, and average attendance is 84.

Unlike other books which highlight just one style of church planting, this book seeks to cover them all, providing a wealth of reliable information gained from various research projects. It is probably not the first book I would choose for inspiration, as I found some of the chapters heavy going, but it does provide a very useful overview of what is really going on in the church planting world. This makes it essential reading for church leaders who are concerned about fulfilling the Great Commission.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert LaDage on December 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you have read anything on church planting it recaps most of that for North American contexts with some examples from around the world.
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By Ed Compean on July 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Most of the books on my list to reread every few years are more devotional in nature, but Viral Churches will join that cycle.
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By Ralph E. Moore on January 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book runs deep as you would expect. But, there is also a breadth of perception that comes from these two men. Both are uniquily positioned to understand the curch multiplication efforts of others. Maybe not a manual, but certainly a worthy foundational tool!
[...]
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Stetzer, Ed and Warren Bird. 2010. Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 978-0-470-55045-8 (cloth).

The title of this book shows the direction it takes - turning church planters in church planting movement makers. In the 14 chapters of this challenging book, Stetzer, along with Bird, seek to cast a vision for not just church planting and multiplication but seeing a movement develop that dynamically sees churches multiply. This is not a book that needs to be read in order of its chapter development but can be looked at depending on the chapter

For those in a North American context, Stetzer announces that "An important shift happened in recent years. After decades of net decline, more U.S. churches are being started each year (approximately 4,000) than are being closed each year (approximately 3,500)" (p. 1). This is good news--although the book acknowledges in a footnote that the statistics on this question are difficult to come by. Although this book is North American in context, it can be used to contextualize the same principles in other countries.

On pages 212-213 you will find a list of churches or networks that are seriously seeking to develop a church multiplication movement.

The annotated bibliography for church multiplication found on pages 225 to 232 is extremely helpful for those wanting to know more about seeing the increase of churches by multiplication.

What is worth the price of the book alone is the section in chapter 12 "The New Scorecard: Measuring a Church Multiplication Movement." In this chapter the authors deal with the "obstacles to North American Church Multiplication.
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