Paas’ book is a wonderful crossover volume that speaks about church planting but connects deeply with church renewal. In Church Planting in the Secular West he helps us understand the church of the ages and how it revealed itself at different times. This understanding is illuminating as we seek to discern what a church should look like and be in our own context. This picture of what the church is to be is developed ever more deeply as the book moves along. The question Paas raises concerning dealing with people who see themselves as consumers and the church as a place to get what they want vs. a church that calls for discipleship is very valuable.
Paas also does a wonderful job of bringing a vision of the church as a place of community, worship, and mission. This vision provides balance as churches seek to renew and also stands in contrast to the church as a simply pragmatic institution as it can be seen in the Church Growth Movement.
1. Paas is helpful in looking into the culture and asking question that make us reflect and think, for instance, “Does the church bow to modern consumers or does it call consumers to change their weekly schedule?”
2. The church as institution has been under heavy fire in the past few decades. Church Planting in the Secular West traces the roots of this and shows that this attack has more to do with our culture than with biblical principles.
“The tragedy of rapid contextual change is that our best may become our worst overnight. Traditions and routines that have never failed us begin to work against us when cultural conditions become very different.”
Who should read this book?
Lay leaders and pastors who want to have a grip on the church and understanding its essential place in the world. Those who want to have a solid critique of the Church Growth movement and the necessity of the church to have a balanced ministry.