Posted on : Monday February 2, 2009

By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Staff Correspondent

MIDDLETOWN, Del.—David Philips, pastor of Mission Fellowship Church, Middletown, always wanted to write but didn’t have a platform. So he started his own publishing business, Missional Press. Others heard about Phillip’s new business and began to ask him to publish their books, including well-known Missiologist Alan Hirsh.

“I’m really focused on the general genre of missional theology and practice,” Phillips said. Missional Press specializes in those types of books, especially those about church planting.

Joel Rainey, Mid-Maryland Association’s director of missions, published his work, Planting Churches in the Real World through Missional Press and it’s now on the required reading list of three seminaries.

The new company also published Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware Church multiplication missionary David Jackson’s compilation of church starting stories in PlantLIFE. In fact, Missional Press published six books last year and six more are being prepared for early 2009.

The company is now expanding to include other Christian books under the label Morfx, derived from the words “morph,” meaning change, and “effects,” the effects of change.

The first book published under the Morfx label is Free to be You by Fred Antonelli, founder and director of Life Counseling Center with offices on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware. The book is about self-definition and dreaming God’s dream for our lives.

Philips said Missional Press gives people an opportunity to say what they want to say, but not have it labeled “print on demand (P.O.D.).”

He explained that most authors who get a platform are those who have been deemed “successful” because of their large churches. Phillips said missional is not about size. It’s about impacting community. Traditional publishers are scaling down the number of first-time authors they work with. Missional gives those people a chance.

For example, he explained, when Joel Rainey came to Phillips it was with a book proposal about realistic church planting about starting churches with a handful of people rather than having an opening with 200 people that grows to 20,000. Rainey’s book is about real life, down to earth church planting and the trying, sometimes comical, struggles planters go through.

David Jackson’s book is a compilation of stories by himself and church planters throughout the Maryland/Delaware area. It’s a book intended to recruit church planters and promote the practice.

Potential authors send an overview of their books and three chapters to Missional Press’ review board. Though not a P.O.D., authors, if accepted, do source their own editors and graphic artists, though Missional Press does suggest professionals they are affiliated with. There is a very small fee to set up the ISBN number and other services. Authors can have a small or large quantity of books printed. There’s no inventory held. Missional helps promote the book on their website and through other venues and the authors are free to promote their books in whatever way they choose.

Phillips said authors working with Missional Press get a much higher percentage from each book sold than from traditional publishers.

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