The Church Planter’s Library (1): Introduction

[Editor’s Note: This summer we are posting some old but good pieces from BtT. This post originally appeared on July 7, 2009.]

There is a noticeable upsurge of interest in North American and International Church Planting among young seminarians. Rarely does a day go by that we do not meet, speak with, or receive an email from, a young student interested in church planting. More often than not, one of their questions is, “What books do you recommend for somebody interested in church planting?” That is the question that this blog mini-series seeks to answer over the course of three more installments covering North American Church Planting, International Church Planting, and Cultural Context.

Several reminders, caveats and disclaimers, however, before we begin: First, we do well to remember that our time reading Scripture is by far the most important reading we will do when preparing to plant churches. Reading through Dever, Keller, Driscoll, and Stetzer will never replace reading through Acts, Romans, Ephesians, and I Peter. We profit from spending serious time in the Word every day, as it is the lens through which we read anything else.

Second, the book lists I provide are in no way comprehensive. I assume that I am recommending books to those who are pursuing a well-rounded theological education. My recommendations will deal with selected sub-categories within a broader theological and missiological education. Third, these booklists should be viewed as lists of “books that are helpful to work through” rather than “books by authors who think just like me and with whom I agree on everything.”

Finally, please contribute to the conversation by commenting. Your thoughts will be particularly helpful in this series, as you contribute to a lively conversation about a very important topic-church planting and renewal. If you think of additional books that are helpful, or have comments about the books I have included so far in the series, do not hesitate to comment. It may turn out that the comment section is as helpful to our readership as the lists themselves.

With those caveats in mind, I hope that you find the next three installments helpful. In the first installment, I will provide a booklist for North American Church Planting and Renewal. In the second, I attempt a booklist for International Church Planting. Finally, I provide a list of books to help the prospective church planter get to know his international or North American context.in java

Tim Keller on how abiding in the gospel produces effective evangelists

This is from Tim Keller on how the gospel makes us both bold in presentation and winsome in spirit when sharing the gospel. The combination of both is a rare, but valuable and attainable, spiritual grace!

“When the gospel ‘comes home’-humbling and affirming you, it turns every believer into a natural evangelist…Evangelism happens because of a) the humility of the gospel. The gospel (unlike religious moralism) produces people who are not disdainful and contemptuous towards those who disagree with them. Also, it happens through b) the affirmation of the gospel. Because of the reality and joy of Christ’s love, we are not as concerned what others think. The gospel brings a gentle boldness.”

“The gospel makes us neither self-confident nor self-disdaining, but both bold and humble at once. To the degree I am still functionally earning my worth through performance (i.e. to the degree I am still functioning in works-righteousness), to that degree I will be either operating out of superiority or inferiority. Why! Because if I am saved by my works, then I can either be confident but not humble (if I am living up) or humble but not confident (if I am not living up). In other words, apart from the gospel, I will be forced to be superior or inferior or to swing back and forth or to be one way with some people and another way with others. I am continually caught between these two ways, because of the nature of my self image.

So the gospel humbles me before anyone, telling me I am a sinner saved only by grace. But it also emboldens me before anyone, telling me I am loved and honored by the only eyes in the universe that really count. So the gospel gives a boldness and a humility that do not “eat each other up” but can increase together.” 

For more on this, see my recently released Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.rpg mobile online games

An Evening with Tim Keller

We at BtT would like to make you aware of An Evening with Tim Keller, an event being sponsored by DurhamCares and held on May 4th at the Durham Performing Arts Center. Keller will be speaking about the impact local churches can have on their cities for the Kingdom of God. In particular, he will be addressing questions such as: Is it important for the church to be involved in serving the community? If I want to be more involved in serving the community, what might the next step might be? Does community service commit me to ‘the social gospel’? After speaking, Keller will address questions from the audience.

For more information on An Evening with Tim Keller, click here.sozdanie sayta