Church Planting in the Secular West
'By far the best book on church planting to have been published for many years'
Church Planting in the Secular West: Learning from the European Experience
By Stefan Paas
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Reviewer: Stuart Murray-Williams
This is by far the best book on church planting to have been published for many years. Stefan Paas draws on personal experience of church planting, conversations with other church planters, research into church life in Europe, and wide reading in theology, sociology and missiology.
His Dutch context and links with people and literature in several European nations enables him to survey the scene thoroughly and insightfully, and to provide a fresh perspective from British and North American writers.
Paas is scathing about the inadequacies of what masquerades as ‘research’ but is often very poorly supported. He traces the history of church planting in Europe, reflecting on the different meanings of this term at different times, probes forensically the claims made regarding the impact of church planting, investigates the varied motivations involved, and pleads for a more ecumenical and collaborative approach. He refuses to limit his conversation-partners to Evangelical church planters.
Despite his critique of the theology (or lack of it) and practice of church planting, Paas is an advocate of church planting. His book helps set this practice in a historical framework, offers a secure theological foundation and invites contemporary church planters to think much more carefully about what they are doing and why.
At times a demanding read, but well worth the investment.
Stuart Murray Williams is a tutor in Mission, and Director of the Centre for Anabaptist Studies at Bristol Baptist College. He is a founder of church planting network Urban Expression