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Roland Allen: Pioneer of Spontaneous Expansion Paperback – April 18, 2012
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About the Author
J. D. Payne serves as the pastor for church multiplication with The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. Before moving to Birmingham, he served with the North American Mission Board and as an associate professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he taught church planting and evangelism and directed the Center for North American Missions and Church Planting. He has pastored churches in Kentucky and Indiana and has served with several church planting teams. He is the author of Missional House Churches: Reaching Our Communities with the Gospel; The Barnabas Factors: Eight Essential Practices of Church Planting Team Members; Discovering Church Planting: An Introduction to the Whats, Whys, and Hows of Global Church Planting; Evangelism: A Biblical Response to Today's Questions; Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration, and Mission; and Kingdom Expressions: Trends Influencing the Advancement of the Gospel. He blogs at jdpayne.org and can be found on Twitter @jd_payne. He is married to Sarah. They have three children, Hannah, Rachel, and Joel.
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He then deals with what he has previously called the "four main components of Allen's missiological foundation" in chapters two to five. These four elements have to do with Christ's preparation of the apostles, the way the apostles ministered, their view of the church, and the work of the Holy Spirit.
Chapters six and eight deal with the role of missionaries in seeing spontaneous expansion and how they are to manifest missionary faith. Chapter seven deals with a false "devolution" that went against the apostolic approach.
Chapter nine challenges the false philosophy of training leaders in such a way that this training takes "the place of the Holy Spirit..." (83). My own experience has shown me that institutional training does not give spiritual gifts, the Holy Spirit does. So that only gifted leaders truly profit from such training and in some cases such training can hinder rather than help.
Chapters ten and eleven deal with bi-vocational ministry and what is often called today "tent-making" and show how Allen was ahead of his time.
Payne's "Conclusion" at the end of the book speaks to the concern of many who want to control what happens in movements that expand spontaneously. He also develops a three-fold equation for seeing true spontaneous expansion.
This reviewer finds that Payne's book fills a needed analysis of Allen's view of the spontaneous expansion of the church. It also helps as we seek to think seminally about what can be done to encourage church planting movements and to avoid hindering their development. May this book be a means of thinking more clearly and missiologically how God works by his Spirit.