Dr. Joel Rainey has written a new book, Planting Churches in the Real World, that is a fantastic find if you are planting a church of thinking of planting a church. What’s more, if you are in a traditional church I am convinced that much of the material in the book can be helpful to you as well. Rainey has helped plant over 30 churches and is currently the Director of the Mid-Maryland Baptist Association outside of Washington D.C.
I first began to read some of Rainey’s writings over the past few years online through various blogs and found his writing to be very thoughtful as well as insightful. This past February, however, I finally had the privilege of meeting Joel in person and found him to be even more enjoyable in person than he is online. Joel forwarded a copy of this book to read through and review.
What makes this book particularly unique is that Rainey makes no attempt to mislead planters by highlighting the exciting, but statistically rare, church plant which skyrockets in attendance right from the beginning. Instead he considers what is the vast majority of church plants, that being plants that grow slowly, yet consistently, but who will probably never grow to “supersize” church status. What also sets this book apart is that it is extremely practical. Rather than give abstract, ethereal wisdom or advice, Rainey sticks to practical wisdom supported by real life experience which lends itself to simple application on the part of the church planter.
If you are a church planter, or a wannabe church planter, I would really encourage you to spend the few dollars and pick up this book. It’s simple, easy to read, practical advice from someone who has been there and done it when it comes to church planting and I think it could be priceless for your ministry.
You can purchase a copy using the links found by clicking here.
Church planting is not for the easily discouraged. The average new church is less than 100 attenders after four years, but most conference speakers and book writers tell stories of hundreds after the first year– a reality few church planters experience. Rainey paints a picture of reality, including both the difficulties involved in starting a new church, and the evidence that planting a church is worth enduring those difficulties. If you are a planter drunk with vision, this will sober you up. But, it is more than that. It also shows that church plants make a difference whether they are thousands or dozens after the first year. I’ve known Joel for years, and he tells the stories from his own journey– telling lessons he learned the hard way. It’s real world church planting and it is worth your time.
Dr. Ed Stetzer, author of Planting Missional Churches. Director of Research, Lifeway Christian Resources, Nashville, TN
“Dr. Rainey amuses the reader with countless stories of life on the field. His “lessons learned” approach to the book serves as a clear warning for future church planters: “The Kingdom of Heaven is near you, but this won’t be easy!”
Dr. Jack Allen, Director, The Day Center for Church Planting. New Orleans, LA
“Candid, winsome, thoroughly biblical, keenly missional, and sensibly linked to the real world. Don’t be fooled. The weightiness of this little book is inversely proportional to its size, and its wise counsel will help point a safe way through the tangle of neglected assumptions, misguided strategies, ill-founded hopes, and unintentional blunders that accosts the unwary planter on the way to church. Well done!”
B. Spencer Haygood, Senior Pastor, Orange Hill Baptist Church. Marietta, GA
“Born in the ward of real world experience, Planting Churches in the Real World is theologically sound, theoretically tenable, and practically accessible. During a time when starting a church can be faddish, Rainey’s work is a dose of both Biblical wisdom and common sense that will stop many would-be church planters before a frustrating failure, and direct many others onward toward biblical success.”
Marty Duren, co-author of Journeys: Transitioning Churches to Relevance. Lead Pastor, New Bethany Church. Buford, GA
“Reality bites, as the saying goes. Yet in the age of incredible lostness in America, we must see church planting for what it is . . . a way to spread Gospel influence to every, man, woman and child. High birth weight churches, although fun and influential for the Kingdom, are not the norm, nor are they the answer. Joel Rainey has captured the reality and yet the incredible potential of church planting. New churches running less than 100 are key players in the Kingdom. Small does not have to mean ineffective. Small groups of missionary Christians are critical to our mission and our future. Way to go!
Dr. Dino Senesi. Church Planting Movement Leader, Columbia, SC