My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I loved most of this book, but gagged at other parts. Let’s start with the positives. I love the passion of the Ferguson brothers. They dared to dream big (to plant 200 churches in the Chicago area), and they are well on their way. I love their focus on leadership development, and their stress that anyone can be (and should be) a leader in some capacity. They realize that it’s not the job of the pastor and elders to do it all. God gave “apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ …” (Eph. 4:11-12). The ordained church leaders are to be striving to equip all the members of the Church to do some sort of ministry. The Ferguson have lots of practical wisdom in how to identify leaders, train leaders, and then train those leaders to train other leaders.
“Reproduce” is a word used about a million times in this book. Church leaders need to “reproduce” themselves (a scary thought!). Churches need to reproduce themselves. If this sounds too much like the “church-growth” movement, we should remember that this is how God designed families to grow. Families reproduce. Bodies grow by reproducing cell after cell, after cell. I appreciate and admire the Ferguson brothers as they pursue their dream of reproducing churches all over the world.
The chief weakness of their model is their pursuit of the trendy. They let non-Christians play in their “celebration” services, in the hopes of luring them into the church. Now, I have no problem with Christians jamming with non-Christians. But, gathering together as the people of God to renew our covenant with Him is a family event. This book was about reproducing churches and leaders–the principles would work in any denomination (or cult, for that matter). It can’t stand by itself. That’s why we need books like Jeff Meyer’s The Lord’s Service to supplement it.