Together for the City: How Collaborative Church Planting Leads to Citywide Movements

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Together for the City: How Collaborative Church Planting Leads to Citywide Movements


Neil Powell and John James (with a foreword by Timothy Keller)


IVP Praxis (an imprint of InterVarsity Press)

Publication Date:

August 27, 2019




240 pages


Simply put, the Church needs churches. Churches with aging or shrinking congregations need something to revitalize them, and many cities have huge areas with no local churches. Thus, church planting is vital. While there’s a long history of lone missionaries or pastors going out to plant churches themselves, research suggests it’s more fruitful to have a team of church planters work together. If they can do so across an entire city, strategically helping each other to expand their influence, they can accomplish even more. That sort of vision generated 2020birmingham, a collaboration network of church planters working in one of England’s largest and most diverse cities. Neil Powell, one of 2020birmingham’s founders, writes with his colleague John James about the key practical lessons they’ve learned as the organization developed.

The authors are careful to be humble from the start, noting the mistakes they have made and emphasizing that they’re not looking to blow their own horn. By boiling their ideas down to basic principles (while still using particular examples from their ministry in the United Kingdom), they also present a vision of church planting that anyone can follow. They particularly strike gold by emphasizing that collaborating churches need more than just a common cause or concern. As many church leaders have learned the hard way, people can only go so far together if they have radically different ideas about how to reach the same goal. Powell and James emphasize the need for collaborators to have three things: a common core belief, a common cause, and several common values that make up the whole group’s DNA or “code.” If church planters don’t have all three, they can’t team up over the long haul.

A terrific look at gospel-centered church planting.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 stars

Suggested Audience

Church planters looking for tools to help them collaborate and set up networks to support each other.

Christian Impact

Powell and James highlight many Biblical principles that church leaders and planters need to understand in order to work together. Some of these principles are ideas that people may not initially find attractive (such as the fact that Christians are somehow stronger together), but Powell and James successfully show that those ideas are vital.

Together for the City: How Collaborative Church Planting Leads to Citywide Movements

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