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A Vision of the Possible: Pioneer Church Planting in Teams Paperback – April 1, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

For over a decade, Daniel Sinclair has served as field director for a major missions agency, overseeing approximately 750 field workers from West Africa to Southeast Asia. Prior to that he and his family ministered in the Middle East for 11 years. He has two masters degrees in missions and Bible, has published various tools and articles about church planting among unreached peoples, and has taught as adjunct faculty for a major graduate program.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Authentic (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932805567
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932805567
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,149,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
Sinclair is no armchair missiologist but has had twenty-nine years of experience of planting churches among unreached peoples both personally and coaching teams. Here is someone to listen to.
The book is divided into fourteen chapters with an epilogue and five appendices.
Sinclair states his goal in the Introduction:
This book attempts to unpack what is involved in working in teams to plant churches among the most resistant people on earth. Envisioning the steps will fire our faith and lead us to go after the seemingly impossible--for whatever fields might seem to us as resistant and in actuality white unto harvest. page viii.
The first chapter challenges us to reconsider the question of "Apostleship" during this age and merits thoughtful adaptation to our way of thinking of missions. Appendix 1 later on is entitled "Apostleship in the New Testament."
The second chapter treats a subject already touched upon in this newsletter--the question of "What is a Church?" and then moves to "and How to Plant One."
The third and fourth chapters deal with working together in teams and chapter five with the phases of church planting. The latest version of these phases is also available online at [...]. Then in Appendix 5, Sinclair lists "Top Ten Team Pitfalls."
Chapters six to nine are concerned with language, role and residency, evangelism, and discipling believers in that order. Chapter ten touches on leadership of a church planting team and gives some invaluable help.
Chapter eleven cares for the question of the church planter's role with relation to the national believers. Sinclair gives options that can free up the church planter from one model approach only.
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Format: Paperback
The first thing that impresses one about this book is that it is inspiring, but in an odd sort of way. It does not provide a compelling narrative of overcoming impossible odds, but rather provides a very clear model to be able to follow. Where the model was not as concrete, Sinclair was there counseling through his own experience like a good friend. Sinclair brought in many outside experts in many subjects, most prominently Scoggins and Rockford's Pioneer Church Planting Phases, they support the over-all theme like well-placed scaffolding. The book's charm comes it's rational treatment of a sacrificial task.

Sinclair is not so spiritual as not to be practical, but not "cookie-cutter". For example, the book contains a good emphasis of language learning which many similar texts consider "unspiritual" and therefore unimportant. Sinclair mixes both his experience on the field in the Middle East as a team leader and his experience as the field director of a missions agency to create a challenging guide and gives some next steps to both aspiring church planters and those who have been on the field for years.

One very practical tip is the Vision and Strategy Paper (VSP). VSP is very good exercise for prospective church planters to help refine their vision and also an effective method to ensure that team members are all on the same page before getting to the field.

The last chapter is titled "The Crucial First Group of Elders" which first struck me as an odd conclusion. But, Sinclair made good sense of it, the logic being that when a church planter appoints the elders of a native church within a people, it is in many senses the finish line and the goal. We can so often lose sight of that goal. Sinclair finishes with the chapter with his characteristic outline of recommendations that is strangely both enlightening an encouraging. In the end, Sinclair ties his book together creating a powerful "vision of the possible".
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Dan Sinclair takes a direct approach to providing a guidebook for planting new churches with team methods in pioneer areas among unreached people groups. He carefully balances these three components, namely church planting, team, and the unreached, as key parts to his book's thesis. Sinclair believes it is best to use teams to plant churches in pioneer areas. Although his book is written from the perspective of one having served in Muslim contexts, much of his information is transferable to non-pioneer fields as well. The book has fourteen chapters, each dealing with various aspects of church planting. Not creating an exhaustive list by any means, Sinclair has chosen the top issues that pioneer church planters confront when working on teams.
He begins his discourse with a defense of the ongoing debate about the term apostle. According to Sinclair, apostleship has been a greatly "neglected subject" (p. 1). He believes an apostolic ministry is necessary for ongoing church planting. Therefore, he advocates that each church planting team have at least one team leader with some apostolic gifting (p. 11).
He then moves into ecclesiology in chapter two. He defends the house church model as normative and promotes a plurality of elders for local church polity. His writing then turns from theory to practice with a discussion of the components necessary for a healthy church.
As a supervisor of over 160 teams, Sinclair devotes chapters three and four to defining a rationale for the team approach and practical advice for maintaining a healthy effective team. He explains the importance of a Vision and Strategy Paper (VSP), which is a master plan or guide for the team's strategic direction, and the Memo of Understanding (MOU) or team covenant.
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