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The Master's Plan for the Church Paperback – Jul 1995

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Product details

  • Paperback: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Moody Press,U.S. (July 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802478417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802478412
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,783,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. I. Mcneish on 12 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
An excellent resource for anybody interested in ensuring that what their church does reflects the biblical model for a church. MacArthur sets out his observations in his normal concise and easy to follow style. Thoroughly researched and biblically sound, with scripture references to illustrate and support his conclusions throughout. This is a book that I keep close to hand and which I have referred to time and time again in my ministry. If you want some guidelines for putting togather an actual service then I would also recommend Christ-centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 25 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Recommended for leaders and future leaders 21 July 2008
By In Process - Published on
Format: Paperback
This was a very helpful book. I consider this book more as a manual on ministry to be referred to again and again. This is not a book that you read once, say "I got it", and never pick up gain. I highly recommend it for leaders and future leaders of churches so as to pattern ministry after the Bible, rather than the shifting sand of culture's preferences.

The introductory title says it all "Shepherds and Construction Workers." Right from the start, MacArthur sets his paradigm against the popular opinion of what church leaders should be doing. Church leadership is not management and is not glamorous. Rather, it is spiritual ministry (Jn 13:3-17) and spiritual construction with God to build the church (1 Cor 3:9-11).

This book is divided up into 3 parts not including the appendix.
Part 1. The Anatomy of a Church: MacArthur walks through the scriptural analogy of the Church being Christ's body with Himself as the Head (Col 2:19, Col 1:18).
a. The skeletal structure. The "skeletal" structure of the church is the critical components to being a church; if it yields, it is no longer a church: A high view of God, absolute authority of scripture, sound doctrine, personal holiness, and spiritual authority.
b. The internal systems. The spiritual attitudes necessary for church vitality: Obedience (he writes, "the all-pervasive attitude that makes all other attitudes possible"), humility, love, unity, willingness to serve, joy, peace, thankfulness, self discipline, accountability, forgiveness, dependence, flexibility, desire for growth, faithfulness, and hope.
c. The muscles. That which enables the body to function: Preaching and teaching, evangelism and missions, worship, prayer, discipleship, shepherding, building up families, training, giving, and fellowship.
d. The Head. The most important part. The Head of the church is the Lord Jesus Christ. Without Him we can do nothing (Jn 15:5). Then, he points to Christ the Head as Savior, Shepherd, Sovereign, and Sanctifier.

Part 2: The Dynamic Church
a. The Pattern of the early church. He discusses the founding of the church, the ministry of the church, and the leadership of the church.
b. Elders, deacons, and other church members.
c. The Thessalonian model. A surrendered, soul-winning, second coming, steadfast, and submissive church.
d. The Marks of an Effective church: Godly leaders, discipleship, an emphasis on penetrating the community, active church members, concern for one another, devotion to the family, bible teaching and preaching, willingness to change, great faith, sacrifice, and worship.
e. The calling of the church: Called BEFORE: Election, Called OUT: Redemption, Called TO: Sanctification, Called TO: Identification, Called UNDER: Revelation, Called WITH: Unification, Called UNTO: Glorification, and Called FOR: proclamation.
f. The Lord's work in the Lord's way: vision for the future, sense of flexibility, commitment to thoroughness, commitment to present service, acceptance of opposition as a challenge, a team spirit, and a sensitivity to the Spirit's leading in others.

Part 3: Qualities of an Excellent Servant
a. Understanding the seducing spirit
b. Understanding the duties of ministry
c. Shepherding the flock of God

The book also has a huge appendix of 150 pages. It answers:
1. Answering the Key Questions about Elders
2. Answering the Key Questions about Deacons
3. Qualifications for Spiritual Leadership
4. Elements of Church Discipline
5. Restoring a Sinning Brother or Sister
6. Should Fallen Leaders be Restored?
7. The Danger of False Teaching
8. Why I still Preach the Bible
9. Why Personal Integrity is Crucial for the Church
10. Why I love the Church
11. Why Doctrine is practical
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Getting It Right 17 Jan. 2001
By Vince Williams - Published on
Format: Paperback
To many churches focus on entertainment and people pleaser messages as their means of increasing their numbers. Churches forget that it is not our job to grow the church, that is Jesus' job. This book does not waste time going into concepts and strategies that will increase the size of the church. But instead focuses on what the Biblical structure is for the body of Christ. John MacArthur does not focus on how to increase the width of the church, but the depth. There is not a single church in the Bible ever commended for it's size. Excellent Book !
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Build Your Church According to Scripture 12 Nov. 2002
By Randy Given - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although the "Master's Plan for the Church" (MPftC) came out before "Ashamed of the Gospel" (AotG), I recommend reading AotG before MPftC. AotG presents a broader base for what problems exist (e.g., watering down the gospel) and why they exist. MPftC is more of a practical application -- now that AotG has shown what to avoid, MPftC shows a better way to implement things in your church. Our denomination (CRC - Christian Reformed Church) has most of those things in place and does a pretty good job of staying true to how a church should be run. MPftC helps keep our minds in line with doing the right things and not just things because "we've always done it that way". Most of the chapters and appendixes are taken from sermons at the author's church. The format is easy to read and well organized. The appendixes fill the final one-third of the book and are required reading. I recommend getting both books for your church library (we have AotG and probably will get MPftC soon).
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Must read 17 Jun. 2004
By Robert Thurman - Published on
Format: Paperback
John MacArthur has done an excellent job explaining from the Scriptures the plan that God has ordained for the local church. He teaches what the Bible says about elders, deacons, women's roles, church discipline, preaching, etc. Very scholarly without being dry. Excellent exegesis.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
You should plan to buy this book! 6 Feb. 2014
By SLIMJIM - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
This book answers the question of what is the church and how to do church. The strength of the book is that it sticks to the Scripture for the answer. It’s important that if the church is God’s institution, one must consider first what God has revealed His will from His Word before any other consideration. The author, John MacArthur, has a reputation of being a solid expositional Bible preacher who desires to be faithful to the Word of God in his teaching. This work is a fine example of him applying it to the question of the church. Yet the book is not a dry academic exercise: I felt that among all of MacArthur’s work, this one seems to me to be the most pastoral. There are bits and pieces of information given throughout the book that gave a window of the life of Grace Community Church, the church where MacArthur has pastured for over forty years. It was also an encouraging work for me to read as a Pastor who desires to please God in how I lead the church. Other members of the church will benefit from reading it as well.
The book is divided into three parts followed by the appendixes. Part one of the book explains the anatomy of the church in terms of the illustration of a human body, with a chapter on the skeletal structure, then one on the internal system, the muscle and the head of the church. Part two looks at the dynamic of the church. Among the chapters I appreciated in this section is MacArthurs’ look at the epistles to the Thessalonians for a biblical model of doing church and the chapter on the marks of an effective church. Chapter thirteen has a wonderful section on the shepherd and the sheep. It is one of the most detailed explanations about sheep I have found in my reading and it certainly illuminates the Bible’s motif of sheep/shepherd. It’s clear John MacArthur has done his homework. Finally, part three looks at the qualities of an excellent servant with three chapters.
The bulk of the appendixes is devoted to the topic of Elders and Deacons of the Church. John MacArthur puts a lot of emphasis on the moral and spiritual qualification of the leaders of the church (Elders, Pastors, Deacons) and rightly so, since this is the emphasis in the New Testament. The appendix on church discipline and restoring a believer is one that the church sorely needs to understand and apply today. If I have one minor criticism of the book it comes from the observation that the appendix makes up nearly half of the book. Maybe it’s better that the publishers call them chapters instead of appendixes given how some of them are longer than the chapters? Excellent work.
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