Steve Addison is a well-known expert on Christian movements. He has written two other books on the subject, Movements That Change The World and What Jesus Started in which he described the nature of dynamic movements and how Jesus’ ministry began a movement. In this Pioneering Movements, he looks at the present day people known as the pioneers of church planting and discipleship movements. Steve Addison leave MOVE, an Australia-based ministry that seeks to multiply disciples and churches.
Addison explains that movement pioneers do what Jesus did: they see the end, they connect with people, they share the gospel, they train disciples, they gather communities, and they multiply disciples. Addison describes the vision of the leaders with the phrase, “No Place Left.” This phrase means that they leaders have a vision for a people group or geographical region to have no place left that someone has not shared the Gospel. The book expands on these themes through explanations and case studies. The organization and structure of the book are typical of missiological texts on movements. Principles are described and demonstrated through case studies.
There are no glaring weaknesses in the book. In my opinion, Addison does not overstate his case, which is an easy trap to fall into when writing about movements. Addison is a good writer who knows how to structure sentences and paragraphs.
Addison’s work will be useful to church planters, church planting team leaders, and pastors. The book is not just focused on church planting, but on disciple-making in general as well. As such, it has practical application in any local church, both traditional and non-traditional. The book contains simple and reproducible strategies for connecting with people and involving them in obedience-based discipleship and Bible studies.
Addison’s book point to significant implications regarding the types of leaders that church planting teams need and the kinds of leaders they should seek to develop. His observation that most movement pioneers are cultural insiders rather outsiders trying to be insiders, highlights strategic decisions regarding the appropriate role of cross-cultural workers. Addison also points out several models of movements taking place in the West. Speaking only from personal observation, most church planting models that I have seen in the United States are models that add but do not multiply.
If multiplication of churches and disciples is the goal of your team or church staff, then Pioneering Movements along with Addison’s other books are important ones to read together.
(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of the book from IVP for review purposes. I was under no obligation to give a positive review.)