Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review of The Trellis and the Vine by Marshall and Payne

Author: Colin Marshall and Tony Payne

Pages: 206pgs

Publisher: Matthias Media

Price:  11.99

Genre: Ministry/Church Resources

Quick Summary:

“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."

That is how Mark Dever described this book. The authors of this book want to see a ministry mindset shift. Instead of simply engaging in trellis work Payne and Marshall encourage church leaders to spend their time on vine work. Trellis work is working on the structures, programs, that supports the vine and its growth. Vine work is the actual doing of ministry. In this book church leaders are encouraged to turn the way they think of doing ministry upside-down (or perhaps right side up).

What I Liked?

Mark Dever is right, this really is one of the best books on the nature of church ministry that I have read. Some of these things I have known and believed for some time—but was unsure how to articulate them. Marshall and Payne articulate these principles in ways that I would have only dreamed of. But this is not just some pie-in-the-sky approach to ministry, this stuff is practical. The problem is this type of ministry (though very biblical) calls for a patient plodding approach, so it probably will not be flying of the shelves. Many will probably “try it” and then when immediate results do not happen will pick up the “next great thing”. If you like 9Marks type stuff you will like this book.

What I Disliked?

I am completely sold on what is being proposed in this book. I cannot think of any specific thing that I would disagree with or greatly dislike. I was greatly challenged by some chapters, encouraged by others, and helped by all of them.

The only “problem” that I have is wondering how to implement some of these things. I would love to see a sequel; sort of like Dever did with The Deliberate Church. There is just one question that I have how do you do Vine work when your people are expecting Trellis work? I know it’s through patient teaching of the Word—but do you do both until the Word really sinks in and the congregation catches the vision?

Chapter 12 and a couple of the questions in the end really do attempt to answer this question. I may just desire being spoon fed. In the end this is probably not a “hole” in the book as much as it is a “hole” in my intellect and experience.

Should You Buy It?

Absolutely. If you are involved in leadership at church you should read this. It would be helpful I think for any believer to pick this up. You can get it from Monergism now for a little over 10 bucks and it is well worth every penny.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Watch Mark Dever plug this book:

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