Book review: Church planting is for wimps

Church planting is for wimps: how God uses messed-up people to plant ordinary churches that do extraordinary things by Mike McKinley is a 9Marks book and is an absolute gem.

Watch this video to see what McKinkley says his book is all about:

This book is quick and easy to read, but packs a lot of punch and instruction as McKinley walks you through his experience of transplanting into a dying church from Capitol Hill Church. His style of writing is great, and his theology is excellent, indeed, his honesty is very warming and challenging.

Throughout the book there are 3 things that make it a great book, but also can grate a little.

Firstly, McKinley is a straight talker and likes to have little, important, key ‘rants’. These are really helpful and he is good at making a point and pushing you on it. For example, his teaching on the need to have expository preaching at the heart of a church plant/ replant, and thus to spend time preparing instead of doing certain other things is brilliant. I found that really challenging.

However, his rant against having a mission statement seemed a bit petty.

But on the whole, I loved the fact that he didn’t waste my time, but just told me how he saw it.

Secondly, this book is heavily influenced by Mark Dever from 9Marks. Now, I love Mark Dever and read everything I can by him. I think his emphasis are well needed in the church today. In that sense, this book comes from good stock. So, if you think preaching, the gospel, church discipline and true conversion are important – this book is for you!

However, Dever does end up as a kind of Papal figure, which is a bit annoying.

But I understand where he is coming from. If you have read Dever and wonder what the 9marks look like in practice, in a small church – this book is for you.

Thirdly, the church replant is less than 5 years old when the book is written! McKinley is honest and humble about this. It means that his mistakes are more clear to see, and this isn’t a ‘I’ve got an amazingly huge church, don’t you wish you’re church was hot like me’...

But, this means that I am desperate for a sequel to be written in 5 years time.

I would recommend everyone who is considering going into church leadership to read this. I would also say that every Welsh guy who is going into a denominational structure should read it. The book will encourage and equip you.

Finally, I think every pastor who feels he is not loving his wife properly, should buy it to read chapter 6. It will change you.

You can preview some of the book here.


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