Peyton Jones in his new book, "Church Zero" published by David C. Cook shows us Raising 1st Century Churches out of the Ashes of the 21st Century Church.
From the Back Cover: It's Time to start over from zero.
What happened to the Western Church? When did we stop being radical, dangerous, and impossible to ignore? Why are we losing the generation under 30 and reaching so few nonbelievers?
In Church Zero, Peyton Jones says one of our big problems is this: we squeeze our leaders into a mold that cuts their hair and drains away their commando strength.
Scripture lays out a leadership model that worked explosively in the first centuryÃ¢â¬âbut frankly, we're scared of it. We don't have to be. When properly understood, Christ's model can help your church live the way the body was meant to live, truly making a difference in your community. Church Zero gives the blueprints for how the Western Church might start rebuilding from the ground up if a pipe bomb were placed underneath all of our church structures overnight. What would tomorrow look like if we had to restart from a biblical ground zero?
Church Zero will help us once again become a radical, dangerous people who cannot be ignored. It's time to break out of the matrix.
I do not have a problem with what we now call mega-churches. I guess sometimes it is easier to go and fit in with a large crowd. However we need the smaller churches to meet the needs of the individuals and we need the Pastors to shepherd them. However there are not enough churches! When I was growing up there was practically a church every few blocks. Now you need to travel to find a church. To get churches planted we need planters or what Paul called apostles. In eleven chapters Mr. Jones goes into the problem and the solution on how we should get the new church planted. He addresses the need and provides solutions. I believe this book is for everybody whether or not you will be a church planter. You see once the new church is planted someone has to bring the unchurched to church and if you understand what is going on in your new home you will be more equipped to help out.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from David C. Cook for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
In Church Zero, Peyton Jones explores the world of church planting from a biblical perspective. The first few chapters are spent digging into the understanding of the word "apostle" in the 1st century. Jones distinguishes between the big-A "Apostles" and lowercase-a "apostles", explaining that Apostles were the men who were personally discipled by Jesus while "apostles" are the God-given role of church planters in the church. Several chapters are designated to defining the roles of pastors, prophets, apostles, teachers, and evangelists, which are often referred to as the five-fold ministry but Jones calls FIST leaders (think of a hand with five fingers, which when all connected makes a powerful fist). Jones spends his final chapters advocating for the importance of the church, the way it needs to be active in our world, and how we can be a part of making the church fulfill its purpose in this world.
From the onset of this book, I had never thought of the apostles as church planters before. But now as we're see a large church planting movement arising in America, connecting this role to the early church makes a lot of sense and is really fitting. Jones does well in his exegesis of Scripture while keeping it connected to theology and practical ministry. I extremely appreciate Jones' positive view of the church. As a staff pastor leading several ministries, this book was encouraging to my heart and gave me some creative ideas for helping to make my church and ministries healthy by helping to get people plugged into the right places. I especially appreciated Jones' chapter on gifts-based ministry.
The only disappointment I have with Jones' writings is that every reference he had to FIST leaders was masculine. Even though he mentioned Huldah and Deborah as prophets, he never considered in any other portion that women could still be prophets--or any other type of FIST leader--today. There was one reference to Priscilla working alongside her husband to teach women, but that was it. Also, as a Pentecostal, Jones seemed to portray a somewhat negative view of the pentecostal/charismatic tradition and practices. This was not blatant or alarming, but enough to make me stop and have to say "mmm...bummer." Jones seems to come from a reformed tradition, though he does well with branching out and discussing historic figures from other traditions as well, such as John Wesley.
Overall, I thank Peyton Jones for writing this book. It affirmed that I am not called to be a church planter--ha!--but gave me a better understanding for those who are called to it, as well as affirming some of the gifts that God has placed in me as a FIST leader. I rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from David C. Cook through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.