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Replant: How a Dying Church Can Grow Again Kindle Edition
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About the Author
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- File size : 3648 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 178 pages
- ASIN : B00H8FIZQQ
- Publication date : May 1, 2014
- Publisher : David C Cook (May 1, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0781410320
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #898,780 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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That being said, it is an easy read and I'm glad Mark and Darrin wrote it. The book chronicles one church (First Calvary Baptist Church in Kansas City) and its journey through a growing awareness of its status as a dying church, the political infighting of a few influential people who were happy to see the church die provided they remained in charge, and the path the church took (led by Mark) to deal with the problem. Mark and Darrin are both very conversational and they did the reader a favor by simply telling their story. At various places in the book they clarified that they were not trying to write a manual on replanting but just telling the story of one situation.
For what it's worth, they accomplished what they set out to do. It just wasn't that ambitious of a goal. The book has very little for anyone to learn other than a fact pattern that went basically unchallenged or even contemplated. The story is presented as though the steps taken were the only possible steps that could be taken and perhaps it's true. The problem is that they never built (in my opinion) any kind of a basis that argued for why selling out this autonomous church and giving everything to The Journey was the best course of action. It's not even clear how much other replanting/revitalizing options were considered or what the barriers in Mark's mind were to their implementation. Pulling back the curtain on this could have been something very valuable to readers drawn to this kind of book but it is noticeably absent.
I have to say that while I sympathized somewhat with Mark as he tells the story with himself being the main character and protagonist, it was hard for me to like him as a character. By his own admission, he got most excited not at the idea of helping these believers find an electrifying identity in Christ, but rather by the prospect of ending their church as they knew it and handing it off to someone who would do more with it than they could (in his opinion). Even his comment about his family being absent from the church created less sympathy for him and more suspicion over how differently he would be processing things had his loved ones been directly affected by his decisions. I am confident my decision making is improved by my wife's active involvement in it and I didn't pick up any introspection by Mark as he discussed trying to figure out his next steps absent his wife other than to say that if the church folded or the new owners fired him he'd lose 1/3 of his income and his family would be impacted. To me, he came across much more as a consultant than a pastor and while I'm sure that was not the case in reality it is the way the book reads.
I gave it three stars because I have to admit that once I realized it was not a serious book I started skimming some parts and may have missed something that would counter the things I found lacking. Otherwise I would have given it two stars.
There are so many better books out there on the topic that offer more wisdom, more practical help, a better understanding of the supernatural battle that is replanting, more compassion for the senior saints that tend to be in these churches, etc. The best one I've read so far is Mark Clifton's book Reclaiming Glory: Revitalizing Dying Churches but even Darrin's book Church Planter would equip most people far better to attack this kind of situation than this one did.
But God loves to raise the dead and we see that in this book and its title. In 12 chapters, Devine and Patrick explain how a dying church in the Westport area of Kansas City, Kansas, was replanted. The authors do a good job of keeping one reading and paying attention as they walk through the history of what is called “replanting” a church.
The difference between planting a new church and reviving an older static church is simply that the older church is not ready or willing to change in order to come back to life. Newer churches generally adjust better to the present culture and, although not conforming to it, are able to relate more clearly to ministry in this present context.
The two authors state: “Only a tiny percentage of churches that sink to a certain depth ever truly recover” (32). Then they explain how this was reversed in the case of this church in Kansas City by replanting. It was not so much replanting but grafting onto the Acts 29 movement by the changing of the heart attitude of people making them willing to move ahead into the 21st century. I reviewed a similar situation described in a book by Mike McKinley entitled Church Planting is for Wimps: How God uses Messed-up People to Plant Ordinary Churches That Do Extraordinary Things (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2010). See my review of this book on Amazon.com, May 13, 2010.
One major problem described in this replanting of churches is the control exercised by leaders who, although they seem to want a church to move ahead again, are not willing to take their hands off the controls and see a dynamic growth take place under fresh leadership. Darrin Patrick states, “The emotional cost of a replant is enormous. The leaders must take friendly fire masquerading as concern for the church” (80). And again, the authors state, “In many cases the very conditions that led to a church’s decline also render incremental remedies futile. Often only radical cures provide the hope for recovery” (82).
This reviewer cannot think of a better book to walk through and work through than this helpful historical and practical guide. Anyone wanting to replant a church will find this tome a gold mine full of guidelines for reviving a decaying congregation.