What would you guess is the most frequent strength that CPM critics mention about church planting movements and its practitioners? Give it some thought before reading on.
In reviewing over seventy critical CPM resources, the characteristic that emerged among the largest number of resources was the zeal, the passion, and the intentionality to take the gospel to the unsaved world (or “unreached people groups,” the “lost,” etc.). This was noted in at least ten of the resources. Here is a sampling:
- “They long for those who are lost and without hope to know the love and mercy and forgiveness of Jesus” (Stiles, 2020, para. 2 under “Strengths in the Strategy”).
- “I love CPM-style practitioners’ desire for lots of people to come to Christ—and quickly” (Rhodes, 2022, p. 72).
- “In terms of a passion for soul winning, however, Garrison’s book was a great inspiration” (Hayward, 2016, p. 3).
- “All in all, Bob Roberts certainly cannot be faulted for his obvious and infectious desire to see the gospel of Jesus pervade and transform a godless society” (Quinn, 2010, last para.).
- “There is an urgency here to see these people groups won to Christ” (Gilbert, 2000, para. 2).
This characteristic, as admirable as it is, is not enough for the critics to become proponents. They appreciate the heart but not the method, the way to accomplish this purpose. For critics, the how is just as important—if not more important—than the result.
Gilbert, Greg. “Book Review: Church Planting Movements, by David Garrison.” 9Marks, January 5, 2000. http://sites.silaspartners.com/cc/article/0,,PTID314526_CHID775984_CIID1562274,00.html.
Hayward, Kenneth. “God and a Godward Worldview for the IMB: Concerns About CPM Theory.” Global Missiology 2, no. 13 (January 2016). http://ojs.globalmissiology.org/index.php/english/article/view/1861/4133.
Quinn, Lance. “Book Review: The Multiplying Church, by Bob Roberts.” 9Marks, March 3, 2010. 9marks.org/review/multiplying-church/.
Rhodes, Matt. No Shortcut to Success: A Manifesto for Modern Missions. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022.
Stiles, Mack. “What Could Be Wrong with ‘Church Planting’?” DesiringGod.org, August 24, 2020. http://desiringgod.org/articles/what-could-be-wrong-with-church-planting.
We'd appreciate more feedback! (no email required)
What was the rationale for your rating?