In his book No Short Cut to Success, Matt Rhodes reminds us that there is no ‘silver bullet’ in missions. The way God transforms people is through relationships and the teaching of his word, both of which take time and plain old hard work.

In past decades there has been an increasing number of strategies for rapid church planting, and they share similar characteristics. Many involve downplaying the need for equipping the missionary and doing away with teaching God’s word (instead allowing unbelievers to discover things for themselves). No Short Cut to Success shows us where these approaches have led us. It lays out a Biblical approach to missions and analyses recent trends in light of time and tested approaches.

In the author’s words, “In most vocations, some degree of preparation or training is necessary. But for some reason, we tend to think of missions as requiring far less training than other vocations. Sure, doctors and dentists and mechanics need to formally prepare. But missionaries? Not so much.”

No Short Cut to Success covers a cacophony of subjects related to church planting, including the importance of acquiring language and culture, the role of prayer and professionalism in missions, New Testament examples of mission and the work of the Holy Spirit. It also includes a ‘where to from here’ in areas we as the Church have largely veered off the path laid out for us in Scripture. You will explore what is a healthy approach to missions and how can we communicate the whole of God’s message clearly today.

It’s a beautiful truth that the Holy Spirit uses mundane things like human labour and effort to accomplish his goals. To quote the author, “We are all dependent on God’s blessing to succeed: ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain’ (Ps. 127:1). But . . . the Lord is unlikely to build the house apart from our labour. So there’s no tension between doing our work well and depending fully on the Holy Spirit”.

Church planting will likely be a long-term effort involving training and years learning on the field before Gospel workers are ready to share the Truth in a culturally understandable way. And as with any personal growth, it will take time for new believers to come together to form a church and for them to reach maturity.

No Short Cut to Success will leave you grateful that God uses his flawed people to carry out his work of reaching the nations as they stick to the framework he has laid out in his word.

You can purchase No Short Cut to Success here.

Grace H

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