- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Zondervan (July 28, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0310515246
When Jesus gave his disciples the Great Commission, he revealed that the key for reaching the world with the gospel is found in sending, not gathering. Though many churches focus time and energy on attracting people and counting numbers, the real mission of the church isn’t how many people you can gather. It’s about training up disciples and then sending them out. The true measure of success for a church should be its sending capacity, not its seating capacity.
But there is a cost to this. To see ministry multiply, we must release the seeds God has placed in our hands. And to do that, we must ask ourselves whether we are concerned more with building our kingdom or God’s.
In Gaining By Losing, J.D. Greear unpacks ten plumb lines that you can use to reorient your church’s priorities around God’s mission to reach a lost world. The good news is that you don’t need to choose between gathering or sending. Effective churches can, and must, do both.
I have read several books on ecclesiolog, but few that actually discuss the heart of the matter as Greear does. The size of the church, although helpful, does not necessarily mean the church is being the hands and feet for Gods kingdom. Too many churches focus on numbers,and finances and not equipping missionaries. Which we all are suppose to be. We are the called out, the separated, those set apart from the world to spread the word of God. Yet, too often we are silent, and so is the church. We all have our own gifts and talents that the Lord can use for mission work. Heck we see in time and again in the Bible how ill-equipped those called out by God felt, yet they went. In the same way our church should be teaching, preaching, and setting the example of being a church that sends.
I am very thankful that my church practice this from the youngest to the eldest. We make sure opportunities are there for our Sunday school classes to mission to those who are hurting straight through the eldest members of our body. We are not a church that prepares people to sit in the pews each week, as if that is the end of their worth, but we equip them and give them avenues to put what they have learned into practice. We mentor, walk along beside and when they feel they are ready, release them to train others. I have been lucky this is the only church I have attended and that we have this focus. It has made me step outside my comfort zone and rely on God to give me the words, wisdom, and safety net to speak boldly of his love, forgiveness and sacrifice. Greear does a marvelous job speaking on the importance and relevance of belonging to a church that sends and more importantly how to go about transforming your church into one that sends!
The second half of this book really focuses on how to become a church that sends. The only thing I disliked about this was he uses what some would call a "mega-church", over 8,000 members, as the premise for how to make the transition from being a church that focuses on number to being a church that focuses on sending. Our church has roughly 150-175 members so alot of what he calls easy and practical advise does not apply to smaller church's since they do not have the same resources a larger church has. Although a church may want to focuses on sending, they still might run into the pitfalls of meeting basic financial or volunteer needs that other, larger churches would not.
Overall this was a good read and had helpful advise to at least guide a church in the right direction to become a church that sends! I think it can be a valuable tool for leaders looking to fulfill the Great Commission and be encouraged by others who have made radical changes to get their church on this path.
About the Author:
J.D. Greear is pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. The Summit Church has been ranked by Outreach Magazine as one of the fastest-growing churches in the United States. J.D. has a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved and Gospel: Recovering the Power That Made Christianity Revolutionary. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife, Veronica, and their four children.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author via Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest review.