I read this book faster than I read most books I’m interested in. I believe that has something to do with how good it was. I only ever put the book down because I had to be responsible and do things like actually work at my job. But while I read I wanted nothing else but to read further. J.D. Greear has a great sense of humor of which I learned by reading this book. He uses funny analogies and metaphors that made me actually laugh out loud.
But here is the thing, his purpose of writing the book is never lost. He doesn’t take you on any useless tangents, and only continues to build his case chapter by chapter.
If your heart is already set on sending useful leaders to go and start new churches elsewhere, then you don’t need much convincing to follow what J.D. talks about in this book. But not only will he convince you of that, he will also show you why it matters and what happens with the church the leaders left.
Most of the church planting effort in the world is trial and error. You can feel called somewhere, but if there isn’t actual godly people calling you, how do you know it’s actually a God-led conviction? Just like you don’t know where God has gifted you spiritually until you try certain things, you won’t know if it’s a totally God-led effort until you give it a shot. It takes a bold, courageous, faithful soul to embark on such a journey.
Seemingly a huge part of the sending effort is to be led by people who can lead well where they are. These people are fruitful Christ-followers that have a heart for spreading the gospel somewhere other than where they are at. Your church is ready to send when, if you were to send some solid leaders elsewhere, there are more to take their place.
Another big point is, it’s about making disciples and not just converts. We can get converts all day but if they don’t take their walk seriously and start trying to spread the Gospel themselves, then you haven’t actually won. The point is not to get a huge mega-church that is full of people who love God, but to create an atmosphere where people who get saved want to go get others saved, and eventually be able to be a part of starting another church like the one that helped them meet the Lord. If while we reach people, we eventually become a super-large church, it’s not a bad thing, it’s just not the point, and it’s not the mission.
Jesus gave us a mission, and we know we ought to work our hardest to accomplish it. Making disciples in the entire world is what we say we shoot for, but do we actually take steps at accomplishing that goal?
The following is an excerpt from the Introduction:
“We live by losing. We gain by giving away. What we achieve by building our personal platform will never be as great as what God achieves through what we give away in faith.
It’s one thing to know these things, to believe they are true. It’s another to implement them. That is what this book is about. What does it look like to live sent - in your personal life, in your ministry, or in the church that you lead?
I will warn you: It’s relatively easy to nod our heads at this point and say, "Yes, like Jesus, we live by dying.” But to go to the next step - to invest some of your most cherished resources, or say goodbye to those whom you love as they go to begin something new - that is hard, and it never gets easier. Yet it’s how God’s kingdom grows.
We gain by losing.“
All in all, I loved this book. I think it’s a good read especially if you want to gain a goal or vision that is more long-term than your current goals or vision.