If you have any connection to the church planting scene in Canada, or have any intention of doing so, then Gutsy: (Mis)Adventures in Canadian Church Planting is a necessary read. This is the first book from Jared Siebert, national church planting coach for the Free Methodists in Canada, and the first publication from New Leaf Network Press.
Gutsy was penned as a kind of sequel to a one of a kind documentary on church planting in Canada called, “One Size Fits All” (watch if free here) released in 2007. That’s the context for this book that arrives 10 years after-the-fact.
Jared revisits most of the church plants featured in the documentary to do a little postmortem. Church planting is a risky endeavor, and pioneering church planters (the ones who are really at the edge of the margins) even more so. Let me ask you a question: over ten years, how many pioneering church plants survived? How many would you assume?
The answer might shock you.
You can pick up the book to read about the results of the churches involved in the documentary, and their existence ten years later, but the percentage is OVER half. The survival rate was over 50%. I didn’t expect that.
After introducing the methodology of his research, Jared incorporates some essential observations particularly for future church planters, but also for church plant supporters particularly denominational representatives.
Here’s why the book is essential reading for anybody thinking of planting in the Canadian context. (This is especially critical for Americans who have ‘felt God’s call’ the plant a church in Canada). There are very few materials available publicly that come out of a uniquely Canadian perspective. When you can find one you need to pay close attention to its findings.
The insights gained from the interviews include what works, what doesn’t work, the hard questions derived from the hard experiences of planters who have gone before, are all presented in Gutsy in an effort to prepare the next generation of planters in hopes they will not only learn and avoid some of the pitfalls, but gain valuable insight to be successful in an enterprise that has an exceptionally high cost.
Jared provides additional insight with his unique perspective being a pioneer church planter in Canada, offering a perspective to the conversation from denominational and practitioner levels, imparting important wisdom on both would be planters and their supervisors.
Again, if you are thinking about church planting this is the first book you should be picking up before anything out of the US. Value the uniquely Canadian experience with a uniquely Canadian insight. Gutsy begins to do this.
You’ll be hearing more about New Leaf in the months ahead as the network launches a blog. Think MissioAlliance but specifically Canadian. If you’re wondering, yes it’s true, the Canadian voice and contribution to church planting is emerging and asserting itself as both unique and valuable to the Western church experience. Stay tuned for more.