Back in 2021, I shared a Top 21 books I’d read that year, and of John Valentine’s Follow Me, I wrote:
this older (2009) book is a beautiful example of the importance of keeping things in print, rather than just hoping they go viral on publication day. Valentine paints an infectiously beautiful picture of following Jesus – and this is a book I will recommend to new Christians who can read, and older Christians who feel weary. Stunning.
14 years on from the publication of Follow Me, it’s been a privilege to work with John on a new book, a significantly larger, more detailed and challenging book. Originally titled (it’s now the subtitle!) Jesus, The Church, and the Mission of God, we at IVP/Apollos think this is the first major monography specifically looking at the biblical/theological how and why of church planting.
Broadly divided into two parts – the biblical material (Which is engaged with theologically) and the theological implications (Which are always rooted in the Bible) – Valentine builds a careful and in my view robust case for church planting. It will frustrate some, irritate others, but hopefully encourage many to think more theologically about what they are doing. Certainly in my experience of growing up in, and being part of as an adult, church-planting churches, this is a book I think we’ve needed for a while, and made me think about things I’ve inherited or assumed.
At over 180,000 words, Jesus, The Church and the Mission of God could seem offputting – but in my view it’s really rather readable, sharing the warm-hearted love of Jesus that characterised Valentine’s earlier Follow Me. I hope it is widely read – and I’m excited to see critical engagement. You can order a copy now either direct from IVP, or ask your local bookshop!