Send Institute, a think tank for evangelism and church planting in North America, has included three InterVarsity Press titles on its list of Top 10 Church Planting Related Books from 2019. Daniel Yang, director of Send Institute, said, “These books capture how some leaders are responding to the church planting challenges and opportunities in the 21st century.”
The IVP books that made the Send Institute list include Together for the City by Neil Powell and John James, Sent to Flourish edited by Len Tang and Charles E. Cotherman, and A Big Gospel in Small Places by Stephen Witmer.
In Together for the City: How Collaborative Church Planting Leads to Citywide Movements pastors Neil Powell and John James contend that to truly transform a city, the gospel compels us to create localized, collaborative church-planting movements. They share lessons learned and principles discovered from their experiences leading a successful citywide movement. In the foreword Tim Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, said, “While there is an increasing body of literature about church planting in general, there is almost nothing available that describes whole-city collaboration among multiple denominations, networks, and movements. Neil and John spell out what it takes to get this done. I know of no better book on the subject.”
Sent to Flourish: A Guide to Planting and Multiplying Churches is written by a diverse team of scholar-practitioners who have planted churches in a variety of contexts, cultures, and church traditions. This book provides a tested road map based on Fuller Theological Seminary’s renowned church-planting program. In addition to editors Len Tang and Charles E. Cotherman, contributors include Carrie Boren Headington, John Lo, Tim Morey, Johnny Ramírez-Johnson, Scott W. Sunquist, Nick Warnes, and JR Woodward. “Drawing from Scripture and the experience of many church starters and reproducing churches, this book has the capacity both to inspire and to guide planting initiatives into healthy, practical activation,” said Daniel Steigerwald, missional catalyst and coach at Artesia ReSourcing. “Along the way, the authors remain ever attentive to helping startup teams cultivate the supportive environments and practices conducive to their flourishing and the multiplying of new churches.”
In A Big Gospel in Small Places: Why Ministry in Forgotten Communities Matters pastor Stephen Witmer lays out an integrated theological vision for small-place ministry. Filled with helpful information about small places and with stories and practical advice from his own ministry, Witmer’s book offers a compelling, comprehensive vision for small-place ministry today. A Big Gospel in Small Places was also recently listed on Kevin DeYoung’s Top 10 Books of 2019 and was honored with two awards: the 2019 WORLD Magazine Book of the Year Short List in the Accessible Theology category and the 2019 Gospel Coalition Book Award in the Ministry category.
Collin Hansen, editorial director for The Gospel Coalition, said “This is a book whose time has come. I’ve long appreciated Stephen Witmer’s advocacy for ministry in the small places. And now we have an apologetic, a theological vision for this particular work. He makes the case for small places without patronizing them or denigrating ministry in other areas. I even appreciated his pushback to the urban thesis of the early church. That’s what makes this book an important read, even if you could never imagine living in the places where Stephen and I grew up.”
Yang also made special mention of two other IVP books. He said, “In addition to my recommended books on church planting, I offer up eight more books in evangelism and missiology that I think are important as we continue to think about missions in 21st century North America.” The two IVP titles included among the eight were You Found Me: New Research on How Unchurched Nones, Millennials, and Irreligious Are Surprisingly Open to Christian Faith by Rick Richardson and Seeking Church: Emerging Witnesses to the Kingdom by Darren T. Duerksen and William A. Dyrness.