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Download A Vision of the Possible: Pioneer Church Planting in Teams epub

by Daniel Sinclair

We have long been aware of the challenge of reaching the unreached peoples of the world. For many this seemed a daunting and almost impossible task. However, with a clear biblical model of church planting, which works in divergent cultural settings, it seems that this may in fact be possible. In A Vision of the Possible, Daniel Sinclair thoroughly covers practical whys and how-to's concerning pioneer church planting among unreached people groups, with applicable discussions from Scripture along the way. Its emphases include resistant environments and church planting in teams. It also includes the newly revised seven "Pioneer Church Planting Phases" which is widely used by mission agencies working among unreached peoples. Those on the field, and those in preparation, including those in Bible schools and seminaries, will find this book immensely practical. Senders on the homefront will also find it invaluable, as they seek to understand the biblical and concrete issues the friends they support grapple with on a daily basis.
Download A Vision of the Possible: Pioneer Church Planting in Teams epub
ISBN: 1932805567
ISBN13: 978-1932805567
Category: Bibles
Subcategory: Churches & Church Leadership
Author: Daniel Sinclair
Language: English
Publisher: Authentic (April 1, 2006)
Pages: 304 pages
ePUB size: 1864 kb
FB2 size: 1714 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 833
Other Formats: lit rtf azw mobi

Dan Sinclair takes a direct approach to providing a guidebook for planting new churches with team methods in pioneer areas among unreached people groups. He carefully balances these three components, namely church planting, team, and the unreached, as key parts to his book's thesis. Sinclair believes it is best to use teams to plant churches in pioneer areas. Although his book is written from the perspective of one having served in Muslim contexts, much of his information is transferable to non-pioneer fields as well. The book has fourteen chapters, each dealing with various aspects of church planting. Not creating an exhaustive list by any means, Sinclair has chosen the top issues that pioneer church planters confront when working on teams.
He begins his discourse with a defense of the ongoing debate about the term apostle. According to Sinclair, apostleship has been a greatly "neglected subject" (p. 1). He believes an apostolic ministry is necessary for ongoing church planting. Therefore, he advocates that each church planting team have at least one team leader with some apostolic gifting (p. 11).
He then moves into ecclesiology in chapter two. He defends the house church model as normative and promotes a plurality of elders for local church polity. His writing then turns from theory to practice with a discussion of the components necessary for a healthy church.
As a supervisor of over 160 teams, Sinclair devotes chapters three and four to defining a rationale for the team approach and practical advice for maintaining a healthy effective team. He explains the importance of a Vision and Strategy Paper (VSP), which is a master plan or guide for the team's strategic direction, and the Memo of Understanding (MOU) or team covenant. He advocates strong biblical leadership on the team but also defends a participative environment.
Chapter five outlines the seven church planting phases developed by Dick Scoggins in Rhode Island as a useful communicative and evaluative tool. Phase I is pre-field training. Phase II is language and cultural acquisition. Phase III is personal evangelism. Phase IV is discipleship. Phase V is gathering. Phase VI is leadership development. Phase VII is reproduction. At first glance the phasing might seem like a linear approach, but Sinclair explains that "it is very common for ministry activities from various phases to be going on at the same time" (p. 60).
He devotes chapter six to language acquisition. Interestingly, he advocates a language acquisition structure of two to three years committed to fulltime language study. Although he admits this might require adjustment in other scenarios, his "rule of thumb is thirty or more hours per week engaged in language activities for two years" (p. 102).
Chapter seven is about platforms. Initially he deals with the ethics hurdle of doing covert missions operations, but he quickly moves into a definition of platforming. By deduction, it could be argued that both language acquisition and platforming make up phase II of the church planting phases.
Sinclair says that "church planting is the main theme of this book" (p. 117). Accordingly, he defends personal evangelism as the central means to do so. He discusses evangelism methods that might work in resistant fields and recommends the "Discovery Course" for Muslim fields (p. 129). Although he is not in opposition to friendship evangelism, he nonetheless notes a demarcation between friendship evangelism and apostolic evangelism (p. 132). It is this apostolic evangelism that makes up phase III for church planting.
Logically, Sinclair moves from evangelism to discipleship, phase IV in the phasing process. In chapter nine, he gives some very practical steps for hands-on discipleship. He also warns of potential pitfalls in a Muslim context.
From discipleship he moves to phase V, leadership development that is characterized by servanthood. Team leaders are to be spiritually healthy, men or women of vision and faith, personally involved in church planting, able to listen to their team members, able to oversee individuals, and able to model accountability. Sinclair does a great job differentiating between essential and non-essential tasks of a team leader in this chapter. However, his shift in focus to the apostolic team itself is marked as he omits any mention of leadership development among nationals, perhaps what one would expect for phase V in church planting. Chapter eleven, nonetheless, does discuss the installation of elders and the timely withdrawal of foreign influence; so the shift in focus can be overlooked.
Chapter twelve is Sinclair's interaction with David Garrison's statistics in Church Planting Movements. Click here for my review of Garrison'sbook.
Sinclair adds supplemental information to Garrison's materials in this chapter. Although much of the material overlaps, there are some dissimilarities in Sinclair's own observations from four case studies in 2003. For example, he differs with one of Garrison's conclusions regarding the financial support of national church leaders. Whereas Garrison promotes the POUCH approach marked by unpaid lay workers, Sinclair says this lack of financial support would make his church leaders "unable to be much involved in concerted expansion work" (p. 207).
Sinclair defines the traditional, cell, and house church models in chapter thirteen, and then he lists some advantages and disadvantages for each. He denies that any one model is superior to the others, but he does hint at his preference for house church.
His final chapter returns to the ecclesiological issue of multiple elder polity. In a question and answer format, Sinclair attempts to define the role of the church planter in elder installation and support. This chapter in conjunction with the epilogue places a premium on biblical teaching as the key element of church planting ministry.
Risky Strong Dromedary
Very thorough and open about both successes and "failures." Great reading, not just for church planters, but for church leaders as well.
Some may not, but I loved all the outlines and lists in each chapter. I am currently in this now and was very applicable. It was refreshing to have someone line things out in a season where everything seems so grey. This is a must read for any worker at any point in the process.
This book has great insights that are helpful regardless of your situation. A blend of broad issues like vision and purpose all the way down to specifics make this applicable to anyone - especially those "pioneers church planting in teams." I borrowed it, promptly bought my own copy, and am buying one to give away.
Wish I had read this years ago.
This is definitely one of the best missions books I've read, out of those that are simultaneously theoretical *and* practical. It helps that it's one of the few missions books I've read that focuses exclusively on church-planting among unreached peoples (what the author identifies as "apostolic ministry") and that in the context of teams. It doesn't consider any other sort of cross-cultural ministry within its context of missions teaching, neither church-planting among Christian-background peoples, nor evangelism (exclusively) among unreached peoples, nor individuals working outside of teams. Instead this book is entirely about team ministry with the goal of planting reproducing churches among unreached (non Christian-background) peoples. For me that means this book hits on each of the essential points of ministry that I believe passionately in (which I am also personally called to) without spending time on any extraneous areas.

So, not only does this book hit all the best topics (and no unnecessary ones), but I feel like it does an excellent job balancing both the theoretical aspects, i.e. Biblical values and principles, and just the right amount of practical advice and examples straight from the author's extensive experience. To me that doesn't mean this book is perfect, and the author is plenty gracious enough to leave room for disagreement with him on one point or another. But I probably haven't read any other so-well-rounded missions book that I agree with in so many areas. That doesn't mean I already had nailed down everything he wrote about (with my limited practical experience of just 7 years on the field so far), but from a principled level I could see that he was hitting at the truth (as I understand it or have previously considered) in just about everything, and on a practical level he gave me much to learn from and consider for putting into practice going forward. And, having not yet arrived at much success on the field (not yet any believers or church among the people group we're currently working in), he gave me much to consider that I haven't yet. And he did it all in an inspiring way, very much a "vision of the possible".

I would highly recommend this book to any aspiring missionary who may not know which type of missions they'll be doing and I would especially recommend this (even as required reading) for any missionary, future or present, who has a heart for seeing the unreached reached. I don't think you can find a more well-rounded book full of solid Biblical teaching and practical advice.