Church Planter, by Darrin Patrick is an insightful look at one of the most important activities for Christians living in New Testament times. The author carefully organizes his book in three broad categories: The Man, The Message, and the Mission
In part one, Patrick makes a strong case for men who are biblically qualified to plant and pastor New Testament churches. This man, of course, must be a Christian. He must be called of God. He must meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. He must humbly rely upon God. He must be a uniquely skilled man. He must have a passion to shepherd the people of God. And he must be a determined man. The author faithfully explains each of the above qualifications – qualifications that must be met by an aspiring church planter.
Part two focuses on the “meat and potatoes” that church planters serve the flock; not just any kind of food. Rather, a qualified church planter must commit himself to the biblical message of the gospel. The essence of the message must be consistently Christ-centered, sin-exposing, and idol-shattering. His emphasis on smashing idols is especially helpful: “The way to deal with sin and idolatry is to repent of them and believe the gospel.” Patrick hammers the necessity of getting the message right and articulating the gospel with skill and clarity.
After exploring personal qualifications and theological boundaries in the first two sections, the author moves to the philosophical arena, which describes the mission of the church planter. He argues that pastors must demonstrate compassion. They must contextualize the message for the culture they are trying to penetrate. And he makes it clear that the gospel must be delivered in a way that communicates hope to hurting people who are enslaved to sin.
Darren Patrick has written a book that is helpful and practical. But most important, his work is biblical. Emergent types on the prowl for pragmatic methodology and downplaying theology should look elsewhere. Church Planter is a solid effort and should make a huge splash, especially among young, Reformed evangelicals.