Director of Frontline Church Planting (located in Colorado) as well as a pastor at Vanguard Church (Colorado Springs), Alan Briggs offers an interesting read on church planting and discipleship. Guardrails: Six Principles for a Multiplying Church (NavPress, 2016) proves to be highly readable as well as simple.
The author starts off with noting how churches look at (more) numbers “as solutions to our problems” when “most churches have no idea what they would or should do with the people God brings them” (p. 4). He hits the importance of contextualizing the gospel, not simply making a model of how to plant a church and sticking with it forever, making it Torah; the importance to evolve and not stagnate (p. 12). At the same time he hits on the need for balance, as while “overstructured organizations need to free up room for new ideas that will allow expansion and new movement, understructured leaders need to prepare themselves to keep their momentum from degenerating into chaos” (p. 13).
…understructured leaders need to prepare themselves to keep their momentum from degenerating into chaos.
Early on Briggs speaks of the importance of the kingdom of God and “kingdom theology,” drawing from the late Karl Barth. Brigg writes that “the family of God…must live a different narrative in this consumer-driven, me-first, get-ahead…world we live in” (p. 20) and that “Kingdom theology has often been overlooked. Perhaps it doesn’t offer accelerated solutions in a world of quick fixes. Perhaps acknowledging God’s centrality…renders us helpless in a self-help culture” (p. 21). The book shines with many such statements, staying true to simplicity as well as practicality.
I didn’t feel that Briggs added anything fresh to this topic. At the same time, it’s hard to add anything to something so greatly exhumed and excavated. Though Guardrails is not bad per say, it tends to be a generic read on discipleship. (This is just my two cents.)
The second issue I have is that though Briggs holds interesting perspectives, at times I find myself wondering what he’s trying to say, many sentences seeming like words awkwardly jumbled together. Many parts in the book could probably use a tad more editing.
*I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest assessment.