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reviewed: ‘launch: starting a new church from scratch’


Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch has to be one of the most frustratingly tempting books I have read in a good long time.

I think the authors, Nelson Searcy and Kerrick Thomas, would disagree with me on this, but the message of this book over and over again was “plant a church like this, its proven, effective, and easy . . . just get through the first years following these easy steps and you will have a big, stable, influential mega-church in no time.”

Like I said, the authors would refute that statement, but the bottom line is that Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch provides a church planter with a proven system for managing the planting of a new church quickly and efficiently (which sounds good) but with precious few words devoted to biblical fidelity, intercessory prayer, biblical leadership, or the centrality of the gospel.

Fans of this book might argue, “But those things are not the point of this book, this book is aimed at the nitty gritty practical issues that more ‘theological’ books on church planting tend to leave out.”


I tend to think that every step of the process must be deeply rooted in scripture and animated by the truth of the gospel, that personal evangelism is a priority over and above direct marketing, that effectiveness and pragmatism is not the driving force behind the planting of God honoring churches.

Is there any value in reading this book?

Sure, there are some helpful ideas and questions to ask yourself.

Do I recommend that you read this book?

Let me put it this way, if I end up misplacing this book somewhere between my office and my bookshelves at home, I probably wouldn’t ever know it was missing.

. . . . . .

Are there any “must reads” (or “must not reads”) that you would recommend on the subject of planting churches? On the local church in general?

  1. logsatm04
    June 17, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Organic Church, but read with a filter alongside Church Planting Movements debating how the methods used on the mission field transfer to America.

    The overall theme is abundat prayer, abundant gospel sowing, and follow the Spirit when He starts saving people.

  2. ally
    June 17, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Funny I was going to recommend Organic Church, too. It was one of my hubby’s favorites, but he also says to read it “with a filter”.

  3. Dwight Davis
    June 17, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    I enjoyed Confessions of a Reformission Rev by Driscoll.

  4. Jason
    June 17, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    What would you guys filter out in Organic Church? I haven’t read it, just wondering what points were hit on that you found helpful, and not so helpful.

  5. June 17, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    … the bible. haha.

  6. emily bruss
    June 17, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    my church just expanded and started two new, different churches and i’m going to one of the new ones. (though we still have events all together)

    our pastor has asked us to read Total Church and also as we’ve been going through our membership class, to read What is a Healthy Church Member and they are great. completely rooted in the Word, prayer, unity, etc. – all the things you’re talking about. i highly recommend both!

    emily :)
    (old friend of beth’s from kw)

  7. Brandon
    June 18, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    I’ll throw in a hearty recommendation for Total Church. It’s accessible and it reorients the church around gospel and mission. Reading it made me very excited.

    I’m wondering if Emily Bruss is a member of New Life in College Station (a church plant off Living Hope). Allen Duty is having his peeps read through those very same books. Gotta love Allen Duty.

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