John Carter – May 12, 2015 – Book Review

The book Firmly Rooted Faithfully Growing was written by David Horner. Horner is a pastor in Raleigh NC with over thirty years of experience as a pastor. This paper is a short review of David Horner’s book.

Horner points out early on the “it is critical the pastor and church leaders have a basic understanding of the purpose of the church and the principles upon which that purpose has been founded.”[1] Later Horner states that he “wrote this book with those who train pastors in mind.”[2] Although Horner makes a very useful tool for organizing a church philosophy the book should be read with caution. The caution being that just because this philosophy works in a ‘successful’ church, the reader should not assume that it will work in his or her context. This book would be useful for creating opportunities to ask probing questions but would not be useful for creating a church in the box mentality. I am glad to have read this book but it is only as useful as the culture in which it relates to. Developing a new church community is always done with a unique community member mix.

There are seven sections to this book. Each one of these sections is summarized below.

(1) This is the most broadly useful section. In this section the roots of a healthy church are addressed. This allows Horner to set up a framework in which the rest of his book will go. At the same time it sets up parameters in which this book won’t find any useful application.

(2) Section two deals with the three overriding focuses of Providence Church. Providence Church runs everything through the filter of Exaltation, Evangelism, and Edification. Although they are great filter, they are also very church philosophy oriented. This means a different set of leaders could easily cut the cake a different way. These three elements are similar to Saddlebacks’ (Rick Warren) “Five Purposes.”

(3) The final section deals with measuring success. I believe this is probably the most useful section as it helps leaders to begin measuring success on biblical standards. Often books of this nature will give a short chapter of how to measure success but in my experience that chapter is lacking in spiritual maturity. In Horner’s book I walked away with some a changed mind and approach in how I will view the success of ministry.

[1] David Horner, Firmly Rooted Faithfully Growing (Raleigh: Providence Communications, 2003), 7.

[2] David Horner, Firmly Rooted Faithfully Growing (Raleigh: Providence Communications, 2003), 12.