Five times in the New Testament writers command Christians to go and make disciples. Over the past decade, we’ve seen a huge increase in writing, and speaking around topics pertaining to discipleship, evangelism, missions, and apologetics. The local church is the hope of the world. It is the hope of the world in so much as local churches take seriously their responsibility to equip people to be on mission for Jesus so disciples can be made, matured, and multiplied to the glory of God. J.D. Greear wrote Gaining by Losing Why The Future Belongs To Churches That Send to help pastors and ministry leaders understand that their ministries are about making, maturing, and multiplying disciples.
Every church leader wants their church to grow. Some churches focus on creating programs that will reach people and hopefully get them to stay. Some churches focus the majority of their attention on pastoral care and the Sunday service. Still others on missions, and the list goes on and on. What would happen if the aim of every local church was to send out disciples to make, mature, and multiply Disciples of Christ? This is what Dr. Greear wants to do in this helpful book. He takes two chapters the painful journey his church took to get to the place where the aim of The Summit Church focuses on sending people out to fulfill the mandate of the Church by the Lord Jesus to make disciples. In chapters three through twelve, the author explores the centrality of the gospel, calling, missional or attractional, transforming your audience into an army, your church doesn’t need a missions pastor, racial reconciliation, and more. The book has two appendixes that explore an international mission’s strategy and developing a domestic church planting strategy.
Local churches are to be inward and outward focused. Inward focused in that they are to be intentional in seeing Disciples of Christ grow in their understanding of the Bible, actively serving in ministry in the body, and more. Christians gather on Sunday so they can scatter to their respective vocations and share in word and in deed of the grace of God. This is why local churches are to be outward focused. People grow in maturity in Christ so they can go out from their local churches and testify of the Lord Jesus to their coworkers, in their families, and in all of life.
This is what I like about this book so much. Greear isn’t just setting forth a cooker cutter model of ministry. Though, he does share how his church got to the place they did—it doesn’t come across to me as this is of central preeminence to Greear. Rather, what he desire is that pastors and ministry leaders learn from what his church went through. It is wise to learn from other leaders in the church and their experience. To some though it will come across as this is the “Summit” model as he does talk a lot about how his church got to the place they did. For me, I greatly appreciated the transparency the author displayed in openly sharing the story of his church and how they’ve gotten to the place they have in their ministry.
Whether you are a pastor, ministry leader, future pastor, or in Bible college, or seminary student this book has something for you. This book will also help lay Christians to learn what the mission and purpose of every local church should be. I highly recommend this book and believe reading it will challenge you and equip you to be about the business God has for His people to grow in His grace and to spread the fame of God among the nations for the joy of all people’s.
I received this book for free from Zondervan and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”