The sub-title for Churches that Multiply is “A Bible Study on Church Planting”. The format of each chapter is to describe a specific church that is mentioned in the New Testament, including historical and archeological background, and then include a narrative derived from the biblical references to the church. Each chapter concluded with personal and church lessons to take away along with individual and corporate projects to consider.
Churches that Multiply is filled with ideas for believers to grow in their faith and participate in ministry. The book introduces some of the key churches that are mentioned in the New Testament and describes a few of their key characteristics. For anyone who is interested in a simple fly over of New Testament basic discipleship and ministry principles, author Towns and Porter have put together a helpful summary in Churches that Multiply. The sections on personal and church “take away’s” and projects, list over 100 applications and activities to consider.
However, if you are looking for a detailed exposition of the New Testament or relevant, carefully exegeted Biblical principles on church planting, this is not your book. Its reading level and depth of insight are suitable for high-school students or new believers who are just learning about the concept of church planting. The authors fill many of the book’s pages with summary narratives of New Testament content that seem to assume that the reader is not very familiar with the New Testament. Normally, we would take for granted that a book on multiplying churches is for mature believers or those in church leadership who are leading churches to multiply, but the content of this book is basic and more appropriate for new believers.
Another weakness is that the practical applications in the personal and church lessons are often loosely, or even completely, unrelated to the Biblical text that was just described. It seemed at times the authors use the Biblical text to introduce a general topic not to provide Biblical foundation for the conclusions and applications. Not that the lessons given are necessarily unsound, just unsupported by the Scriptures that the authors use. This is odd for a book with a subtitle of “A Bible Study on Church Planting.”
Churches that Multiply is a simple book describing some examples of New Testament churches and includes a number of helpful personal and church applications. For detailed exegesis of the Scripture or an in-depth discussion of church planting issues, look elsewhere.