I recently finished reading Graham Beynon’s Planting for the Gospel: A Hands-on Guide to Church Planting (Ross-Shire: Christian Focus, 2011). This new book is a very brief (121 small pages) summary of several different models and methods of church planting. Beynon explains this book in a sentence: “This short book is designed to explore the main issues involved in planting a new church” (p. 10).
The chapters are divided up in the following way: 1) reasons for planting a church, 2) different models of church planting, 3) deciding on a model, 4) different methods of church planting, 5) key issues in church planting, and 6) the early days of planting. There is also a longer section near the end of the book that gives brief accounts of other church planters and their methods and experiences of planting.
Overall, the book is helpful. I appreciated Beynon’s emphasis that church plants and planters need to be flexible when planting a church since one size doesn’t fit all: “It is worth being clear from the start – every church plant is different! …We should beware of thinking that someone else’s experience will be our own” (p. 59). I also liked the case studies in the end of the book; reading accounts of other church plants and how they went about planting is always interesting and helpful.
There are two major weaknesses to this book. First, it doesn’t deal with scriptural examples of planting churches. I was hoping the author would evaluate the models and methods according to Scripture. The methods and models he discusses in this book are those that he is familiar with but he doesn’t give biblical background of them. Second, the book is very short – almost too short. It isn’t a book that will give you enough info to go about planting a church. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking for a detailed discussion of church planting, but I would recommend it if you want a basic and brief discussion of several different types of church planting. Planting for the Gospel might answer a few questions for church planters, but it might raise many more that will have to be addressed in other books that are more extensive. As I mentioned before, be sure to check out Ott and Wilson’s Global Church Planting.