Friday, January 25, 2013

Review: What Jesus Started by Steve Addison

book coverSometimes we get so caught up in the power of Jesus shouting from the cross, "It is finished!" that we forget that Jesus started something. What Jesus started was a movement that began small, with intimate conversations designed to build disciples into apostles who would go out in the world and seed it with God's kingdom vision. That movement grew rapidly and spread wide as people recognized the truth in it and gave their lives to the power of it. That movement is still happening today, and we are called to play our part in it.

What Jesus Started by Steve Addison holds the example of Jesus, Paul, and the New Testament Church up to the light in order to discover the methods behind the greatest missionary movement of all time. Addison defines Jesus's earthly ministry and the foundation of the New Testament Church as one disciple-making movement and goes through scripture and church history to answer the question, "What did Jesus do?" The result is a book about missionary methods, disciple making and church planting movements with the Gospels and the book of Acts as its main case study.

In many ways the book retells the gospels and the book of Acts through the eyes of missiology. Addison mixes in church history and is able to trace a coherent journey as well as a cohesive vision for this original disciple making movement. The study is interlaced with modern case studies and examples and finalized with a brief look at Addison's own ministry journey through the principles and methods described. The book includes by a fifty page implementation guide that draws readers into the process of making disciples and gives the reader a practical starting point to the methods of the missionary movement that Jesus started.

Addison does a excellent job of meticulously going through Scripture to reveal what Jesus and Paul did and to distill principles from their divinely inspired example. The scriptural focus creates a powerful conviction that the ministry methods and principles described are not merely new ideas, but powerful imperatives drawn from the Word of God. While the book reads as a fairly holistic look at scriptural example, it remains accessible and relevant.With its holistic scope, some readers may feel that certain subjects weren't given enough emphasis, or that important issues weren't raised, but Addison touches on many areas and he's clear about focusing on six principles and methods for ministry.

What Jesus Started may not be the best book on disciple making movements I've read, but it is by far the most Scriptural and intellectually convincing. The focus on the big picture as well as the principles and examples  make it useful for both inspiring vision and activating obedience. I will be revisiting this book frequently for guidance, inspiration, and reference as I follow the ministry model of Jesus.

My thanks to InterVarsity Press for providing this complementary review copy. I have given an honest review.

836598: What Jesus Started: Joining the Movement, Changing the World What Jesus Started: Joining the Movement, Changing the World
By Steve Addison / IVP Books

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