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I have always believed that evangelism was more about “multiplication” than “addition.” I have preached 2 Timothy 2:2 where faithful believers are challenged to make disciples as the greatest plan for world evangelization. Now my friend J.D. Greear has aptly established “subtraction” as a part of the equation.

In his new book Gaining By Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches that Send, J.D. explains why sending people away from his church has become a core value. He simply illustrates his foundational premise by proposing churches function as aircraft carriers rather than cruise liners or battleships.

What he suggests is humanly absurd but biblically convincing. J.D. say, “Our mission, according to Jesus, is not to gather audiences, but to grow disciples.” (p. 83) He goes on to say, “Churches that take Jesus’ promises and the Great Commission seriously are committed to sending out some of their best leaders into the mission.” (p. 112)

Ten Sending Plumb Lines at Summit Church serve as ministry shaping statements. Rather than listing all ten statements I have chosen to highlight one. Using a classic historical illustration, J.D. illustrates Plumb Line Number 6 which is “The Point in Everything Is to Make Disciples.

Abraham Lincoln removed the military strategist George McClellan replacing him with a lesser tactically skilled General. The new man named Grant got the job because he actually would fight against the enemy. I lift only one quote from this chapter which communicates the same message: “Making more and better disciples ought to be the goal of and justification for the existence of every ministry.”

Summary Thoughts:

  • This book is necessary because it is not only forward thinking but will cause churches/ministries to think.
  • This book is a necessary reminder of the inseparability of evangelism from discipleship.
  • This book is necessary because it challenges our programs but not our principles.
  • The necessity of this book is validated by the intentional elevation of Jesus to preeminence over agendas, denominations and personalities.

I applaud J.D. and Summit Church. “May their tribe increase!” My prayer is for others to catch the vision as a result of this book.

 [Disclosure of Material Connection: Zondervan sent me a free review copy of this book. I was not asked to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”]

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