John Pollock’s The Apostle Paul for free

John Pollock

John Pollock (above) is my favourite Christian biographer.

You can pick up his biography of the Apostle Paul for free (US/UK Amazon Kindle). Wilberforce is just $1.99 or £0.99.


“The Apostle: A Life of Paul” (John Pollock)


“Wilberforce” (John Pollock)

UPDATE: While you’re there the New American Commentaries are still 90% off. For those who don’t own a Kindle device, you can still load the Kindle app onto your Mac/PC/iPad/device.

Never buy a book at full price (unless it’s mine).

via CrossPoints

How many church plants survive?

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I often get asked, “How many church plants survive?

It’s the wrong question.

I remember being a first-time church planter. I understand the angst. You hope for more, but you fear failure. It’s only natural. So sooner or later God has to go to work on our mixed motivations. Painful, but better than living with a desperate need to succeed.

In our second church plant, I learned that God has other agendas than just the survival of one church plant. After two years, we closed it down to the glory of God.

Later I became a coach of church planters. I soon learned that when it comes to success or failure in planting congregational churches, selecting the right planters was everything. Get the selection right and the rate of survival improves dramatically.

Still the wrong question.

Here are the questions you could be asking:

  • How many people, who are far from God will hear the gospel today?
  • How many believers can you train to connect, share, and disciple others?
  • How many new disciples can you form into groups that become churches?
  • How many new churches can you equip to reproduce disciples and churches?
  • How many disciples have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the faith?

Answer these questions correctly and you can stop worrying about the survival of one church plant, and focus on the growth of a movement.


The Great Commission or the Great Suggestion?

 Daniel Wallace DTS

Yes, a little bit of Greek is a dangerous thing. But here’s a lesson in the meaning of the Great Commission from someone who has a lot of Greek. 

Daniel Wallace (above) makes it clear that the Great Commission is not, “as you are going,” but “Go!” 

Here are some other examples in Matthew that parallel the grammar in Matt 28:19:

  • Matt 2.8: “Go and look carefully for the child.”
  • Matt 9.13: “Go and learn what this means.”
  • Matt 11.4: “Go and tell John what you hear and see.”
  • Matt 17.27: “Go to the lake and throw out a hook”
  • Matt 28.7: “Go quickly and tell his disciples”
  • Matt 28.19: “Go and make disciples”

Wallace points out that,

Peter could not throw a hook in the lake until he went to the lake (Matt 17.27); the women could not tell Jesus’ disciples that he had been raised from the dead until they went (Matt 28.7).

We can’t make disciples without going.

via reader Brian

New American Commentaries – 50% to 90% off

OT & NT Commentaries, US and UK Amazon Kindle stores.

Unfortunately the UK discounts are not as good as in the US store.

UPDATE: A few examples…. There are many more

“The New American Commentary: Genesis 1- 11:26 (New American Commentary)” (Kenneth Mathews)



The Great Commission— “as you go” or “Go!”


When it comes to the Great Commission I often hear people say that only “make disciples” is commanded, that Jesus’ commission is simply to make disciples “as we go,” wherever we happen to be. They say there is no special command to “go,” the disciples are to make disciples of people they happen to encounter along the way.

A little bit of Greek is a dangerous thing.

Some context … “All” dominates and ties these verses together — all authority, all nations, all things, always. The humiliated and suffering Son of Man (Daniel 7:13-14) now exercises absolute authority over the whole universe.

Jesus now has universal authority, therefore his disciples have a universal mission to go and make disciples of all nations [we’ll look at what “nations” means in a future post]. Because of Jesus’ universal authority they go in confidence. He is in control.

Now for a little bit of Greek. In the Greek “go”—like baptizing and teaching—is a participle which depends on the imperative “make disciples”.

It is true that the main emphasis of the Great Commission falls on “making disciples.” But grammatically, the participles—“going,” baptizing, teaching—all pick up the imperatival force of “make disciples”.

How are the disciples to make disciples of “all nations” without going to them?

The one command to make disciples of all nations is carried out by going, baptizing, and teaching to obey.

So we are to make disciples of all nations by going to them, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded.



From church to movement: Family Church, West Palm Beach

 Jimmy Scroggings Family Church

Here’s a story to warm your heart. It comes from one of the fastest growing churches in America.

From a movements perspective, being in the top 100 fastest growing churches is not the point.

The church I’m talking about is Family Church in West Palm Beach Florida. Led by Jimmy Scroggins.

  • 9th fastest growing church in the USA.
  • Attendance: 3,145
  • Growth in 2014: +802 (34%)

Rankings come and go. Churches rise and fall. Jesus didn’t come just to plant a church, he came to spark a movement that multiplies disciples and churches. Everywhere.

This is a growing church that is fuelling movements. They have trained thousands of people to connect, share the gospel, make disciples. They already have streams of multiplying disciples. They have begun to launch church planting teams with zero budget and no buildings — no resources apart from the Word and the Spirit and some great training and mentoring.

It’s still early days, but this church is working hard at doing the right things, and trusting God to do what he alone can do.

What to learn more about Jimmy Scroggins and Family Church West Palm Beach?


The 100 Fastest Growing Churches in America

100 Fastest Growing Churches - Outreach Magazine 2015

Outreach Magazine has released its 2015 list of the 100 Fastest Growing Churches in America.

The research, which was done by LifeWay, examines the increase in average attendance (adults and children) over the last twelve months. That’s interesting, but from a movements perspective we’d like to know a few more details like:

  • What percentage of the growth represents newly baptized disciples?
  • Has any of the “fastest growing” churches planted new churches? Then let’s count that as growth.
  • Do any of the churches have second, third or fourth generation new churches made up of new disciples? Why not count them?

There’s nothing wrong with counting. The book of Acts counts. When Luke counts he is making a point about the unstoppable spread of the dynamic Word of God — the message of the gospel.

In Acts the Word spreads, grows and multiplies. And wherever the Word goes the fruit of its growth is new disciples and new churches.

In 33AD the church in Jerusalem topped the list of 100 fastest growing churches. Jerusalem stayed at the top for some years. But Jerusalem’s greatest contribution became the missionaries — apostles and ordinary believers — who were thrust out by the Spirit to spread the gospel, make disciples and plant multiplying churches. Everywhere.

That’s what should get our attention.


This is a true story from the Word of God

Troy Cooper shows how to tell a true story from the Word of God.

Why don’t you:

  1. Learn 3-5 stories just like this one.
  2. Seek out people who are far from God.
  3. Share a story with them.
  4. Ask, “What do you think of that story?”
  5. Share the gospel using a simple outline like the 3 Circles.

Read Light: Move on.

Yellow Light: Ask if they want to meet again and hear some more stories.

Green Light: Lead them to Christ and begin discipleship using the 7 Commands.

Pre-Order Pioneering Movements @ 50% off

Pioneering Movements Pre Order

Pioneering Movements is due out in December. IVP US is taking pre-orders at at 50% discount if you use the coupon code 506-491.

In addition they are offering Movements that Change the World and What Jesus Started at a 50% discount.

Thanks IVP!

UPDATE on Kindle: Movements that Change the World and What Jesus Started will be discounted on Kindle from November 3-9.

099-Pioneering Movements in Thailand


Nick and Steph share the story of pioneering movements in Thailand. Steve Parlato is asking the questions.