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Church Planting Is for Wimps: How God Uses Messed-up People to Plant Ordinary Churches That Do Extraordinary Things (9marks) Paperback – April 1, 2010
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"I love Mike McKinley's writing. Church Planting is For Wimps is an engaging book that weaves together personal story, theological reflection, practical suggestion, and great humor. This is a book that will be of great benefit to pastors who are thinking of giving up on their churches."
—J. D. Greear, Lead Pastor, The Summit Church, Durham, North Carolina; author, Gaining By Losing
“Mike knows a lot about the ups and downs of church planting, and he writes about it with all the honesty and humor necessary for laboring in God’s grace. There’s no airbrushing of difficulties. And there are no oppressive ‘be wonderful like me’ gimmicks. If you want to think, learn, and laugh all at once, read this book. Whether you’re a church planter, on a church-planting team, or an established pastor whose church wants to be more involved in church planting, you’ll find this book a refreshing, grace-filled, hopeful, and useful excursion into the sometimes dizzying world of church planting.”
—Thabiti M. Anyabwile, Pastor, Anacostia River Church, Washington, D. C.; author, What Is a Healthy Church Member?
About the Author
Mike McKinley (MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary) is senior pastor of Sterling Park Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia. Formerly, he served on staff alongside Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. He is the author of a number of books, including Am I Really a Christian? and Church Planting Is for Wimps.
Top customer reviews
I recommend "Wimps" for pastors, church staff, board members, leadership teams, and church planters!
It's so refreshing and helpful to find a book that honestly tells it the way it is - hard work and glorious work!
That said, McKinley is quick to point out that he feels underqualified to be writing a book like this, after only four years of church revitalization. As a result of his own self-assessment, McKinley is cautious to not write like a guru on church planting or revitalization. Instead, he just shares his story, similar to Mark Driscoll's Confessions of a Reformission Rev.: Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church (The Leadership Network Innovation). In fact, for church planters Driscoll's book might be a more helpful resource. Because McKinley had only been at it for four years when he wrote this book, the book ends up being a very short read with few astounding insights.
I would give this book 3.5 stars if Amazon would let me do halves. Overall, I personally found this book to be an encouragement in the midst of God calling me to revitalize a church. Rather than a "how-to" book, McKinley seemed more like an old friend who is a few years ahead of me in the process of revitalization. His book gave opportunities for laughter, conversation fodder with my wife, and generally encouraging "it's not the end of the world" reassurances.
If you're a church revitalizer, give this book a read. It will encourage you, even though it may not spell out exactly how you should do things. Of course, anybody who would claim that you wouldn't want to read anyway. Mike, thanks for your ministry and for this book. I pray that God will continue to show up and show off His faithfulness through your work.
McKinley is pastor at Guilford Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia. I previously reviewed Am I Really a Christian?
Church Planting Is for Wimps is the story of McKinley's move from being on staff at Capitol Hill Baptist Church preparing to plant to taking on the role of revitalizing the existing Guilford Baptist Church.
I have only one quibble with this book, and it is admittedly a small one. The title leads to the assumption it is about church planting. The story is one of church revitalization. While there is much overlap, they are not the same. Please do not let that stop you--or even slow you down--from reading this book! That detail is quickly forgotten and the book is too practical not to read.
McKinley tells not only the story of his church, he does so in the context of his own story. This is not a method or plan or strategy that would work for every church planter. But with who God crafted him to be, it was a good fit. Instead of reading the book as a how-to manual, read the stories and look for the principles; they work with anyone's story.
One of the things I most appreciate about the author is his transparency. While not going into unnecessary detail, he is honest about the hardships of planting a church, especially on his marriage. I cannot speak with experience about the toll on a marriage of planting a church, but I do know that full-time ministry does bring an extra serving of stress into the relationship; and McKinley treats that honestly, pointing out that it is often our own sin that leads to that situation.
Perhaps the best chapter is the closing one. In it, McKinley made a few observations which were a real encouragement to me:
* As a general rule, pastors should stay where they are and tend the flock long-term. He quotes an unnamed older man as saying: "Young men tend to overestimate what they can accomplish in the short term and underestimate what they can accomplish in the long term."
* The obsession with church size is killing many church planters. I would add that it is having the same effect on pastors, in general. Regardless of the good ministry we do, we often struggle with disappointment over the size of our congregation. Pride on the inside and influence (books, conferences, etc.) on the outside encourage us to equate "big church" with "good pastor".
* We need to redefine extraordinary. God's extraordinary work is not necessarily big crowds, big buildings, and big budgets. It is when proud, angry, selfish people have their hearts changed by the gospel. It is when churches are selfless with their time, money, and prayers to multiply their ministry. It is when marriages are restored and when cultural prejudices give way to unity through the gospel.
If you are planting, thinking about planting, or have planted a church, you should read this book. I would encourage it for pastors for some perspective on the task at hand. If you pastor a church that is in decline or on its way out, read this book as you pray about the future of the congregation. In addition, most any believer should find it interesting. I recommend Church Planting Is for Wimps without reservation.
Find more reviews at wjcollier3.wordpress.com.