Thursday, February 19, 2009

Book Review: The Five Smooth Stones

image The Five Smooth Stones
Author: Robertson McQuilkin
Nashville, B & H Publishing Group, 2007
Number of pages: 208

The Five Smooth Stones is the product of Robertson McQuilkin’s more than fifty years of ministry. Even in his early years, new ministry methods and methodologies came and went. That has not stopped. So what's right? Is there a method that will last? New voices in ministry say that methodology and theology must be kept separate in order for both to be strong and meaningful; if combined, methods are feeble and theology is marginalized. Does that mean the Bible doesn't speak to methods? McQuilkin says no. The Bible is a wonderful guide for ministry.

McQuilkin organizes the book around these Five Smooth Stones:

  1. The Bible: making it the functional authority
  2. The Congregation: aligning it with the biblical purposes
  3. The Spirit: releasing his energizing power
  4. The Plan of Redemption: the mission of every disciple.
  5. The Lord Jesus: gauging servant leadership.

All five of the above areas need to be given equal attention or the church will be out of balance. The church will only be as strong as the weakest area. The weak area will be like a flat spot on a wheel; it slows down the rhythm and momentum of church growth and effectiveness.

McQuilkin draws from his fives decades of personal and ministry experience that has developed in him a deep well of wisdom.

The emphasis McQuilkin has is on fulfilling God's purposes on earth through His chosen vehicle, the church. An attempt to find McQuilkin biased toward one denomination or another within Protestantism is difficult. He sites examples of both praise and critique across a wide spectrum from Pentecostal to Baptist to Reformed. None are given preference one way or another. None are written off as bad or held up as the only way to do church.

McQuilkin includes helpful flow charts and tables to illustrate the concepts he discusses. This book will be on my shelf as a reference and recommended manual. Anyone in church leadership will benefit from this book. Anyone with a heart set on planting a church or looking for a way to bring an out of balance work back under the Lordship of Jesus Christ will profit greatly from The Five Smooth Stones.

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