For much of this week I’m at the Matthias Media North American Conference in Chicago (Gospel Growth=People Growth). Phillip Jensen and the gang from Sydney continue shaping, at times even changing, my thinking on the nature of the church amidst the backdrop of a robust biblical theology.
Towards that end, I’m excited about the conference release of The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift That Changes Everything, co-authored by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne. No word yet when it will be available in the U.S.–check back with Matthias Media soon.
Meanwhile, here are some glowing kudos:
What Col and Tony have described here is exactly what I’ve been trying to do
in my own life and in our congregation for years. According to this book,
Christians are to be disciple-making disciples and pastors are to be trainers.
Superb! This book sets out a crucial shift that is needed in the mindset of
many pastors. The authors have carefully listened to the Bible. And they’ve
worked on this book. The result is a book that is well-written and well-
illustrated, but even more, a book that is full of biblical wisdom and practical
advice. This is the best book I’ve read on the nature of church ministry.
Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington DC, USA
I am thrilled that this book has been written! What God has done in Sydney
over the last few decades is nothing less than supernatural—and we in South
Africa have long been the beneficiaries. The model of ministry presented in
this book has left an indelible mark on my own ministry and been of
inestimable value to the denomination I belong to. The mindsets put forth in
this book have not only impacted many of our churches, but have changed
our regional thinking, planning and strategy. We are indebted to Col and Tony
for putting into words a culture of ministry that is biblically pragmatic, deeply
theological and, above all, passionately concerned for the lost.
Rector, Christ Church, Umhlanga, South Africa
This is a simple, beautiful book that I plan to have every pastor and elder at
The Village Church read. It quietly and calmly beckons us back to biblical,
hands-on shepherding and is a book desperately needed among large
churches in the West.
Lead Pastor, The Village Church, Dallas, Texas, USA
For over twenty years, I have seen the ideas in this excellent book developed,
tested and improved in the active ministry of the gospel. They are the kind of
counter-intuitive ideas that, once encountered and embraced, make you
wonder why you did not always think this way.
Phillip D. Jensen
Dean, St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, Australia
If I could put only one new book into the hands of every person preparing for
ministry today, The Trellis and the Vine would be it. Marshall and Payne
leverage decades of experience in one of the world’s great cities with the hope
of stimulating gospel growth around the globe. This book will also refresh
every pastor who has ever asked, “What in the world am I supposed to be
doing?” I came away energized, strengthened in my core calling and better
prepared to bear fruit for Christ. In fact, it’s so good that I want every leader
and pastoral intern in our church to read it!
Pastor, Holy Trinity Church, Chicago, Illinois, USA
It is impossible to read The Trellis and the Vinewithout having your cherished
ministry assumptions profoundly challenged.
In your hands is a God-glorifying, scripturally-soaked re-evaluation of
Christian ministry. It will untangle the anomaly of being a Christian without
a radical missionary heart. It will identify the plethora of ministry structures
that owe more to cultural pragmatism than the Bible. And above all, it will
inspire us to serve the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
National Director, Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students,
God makes ministers in the midst of his church. It is in the context of the
faithful local church that ministers are best taught, shaped and equipped. The
Trellis and the Vineis a superb guide to preparing pastors and ministers for
Christ’s church. It comes from a ministry so deeply committed to the
recovery of biblical truth and the cause of the gospel. The wisdom in this little
book is invaluable. My advice: Keep a good stack on hand at all times, and put
this book to good use.
R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville,
There is no need greater (in the happy resurgence of robust, gospel-centred
churches in the English-speaking world) than for us to think biblically and
wisely about how we live and minister together in our congregations. All
manner of folk are offering us their opinions as to how we ought to do this
in this reforming era (in which some, if not many, rightly see the
weaknesses of the ministry and methodology of the last fifty years, but
whose prescriptions for remedy fall short of the standards of Scripture and
wisdom). Yes, let’s rethink what we are to do and be together as the church,
but let’s do it biblically, and with the wisdom of biblical discernment and
pastoral experience. So I announce with joy that I have new conversation
partners as I am asking myself, under the authority of God and Scripture,
questions about the structure and ministry of my congregation: “Why are
we doing what we are doing? Are we focusing on the right things? Is the
gospel central? Are we making disciples? Has ‘administry’ trumped
ministry? Is our corporate life and mission biblically shaped?” And more.
As I ask these things, I am so deeply helped and heartened and humbled
and corrected by the fidelity and wisdom of Colin Marshall and Tony
Payne’s profound little book that I can’t but commend it to you.
Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi, USA
(Past Moderator, General Assembly, Presbyterian Church in America)
To read the first chapter (pdf), click here.