Friday, June 24, 2011
Book Review: Church in the Making by Ben Arment
CHURCH IN THE MAKING: WHAT MAKES OR BREAKS A NEW CHURCH BEFORE IT STARTS by Ben Arment is a creative, biblical, and insightful book on what makes a successful church plant. Nearly 80% of new church plants fail, leaving behind some very disappointed and disillusioned church planters, but former church planter and innovative leader Ben Arment walks us through his experiences and what he's learned about creating a lasting biblical community.
The book is in three parts. In Part 1 Arment discusses the need to cultivate spiritual fertility in a community before ever beginning a church plant. He uses Jesus' parable of the soils to show the need to create the church a community needs. Church planting begins by getting a feel for a community's spiritual receptivity.
In Part 2 he discusses the reality of a church being a social movement and the need to create social momentum. Arment shows from several examples that when social momentum is on your side, a church will explode and a lasting community will be born.
In Part 3 he discusses the need to abandon the approach of importing a church into a community from the outside, and instead helping a church to be birthed out of the community. This insures that a church has a deep connection to the community and its unique needs.
Ben Arment is a very innovative leader who cares deeply about helping people be successful, and that's clear through his writing. He helps people think through things in a fresh new way.
I love church planters and would say this book is vital for them, but I also found its principles incredibly applicable to leaders of an established church. My own context helped me to see it through the eyes of student ministry and how to create an effective and deeply connected disciple-making student and family community. The idea of birthing a spiritual and social movement out of a community was especially compelling.
This is a book that will help any church leader become a more effective leader and a better connector with people. Ultimately, it will help leaders create a passionate community of Christ followers.