Ephesiology: A Study of The Ephesian Movement

With the growth of church planting movements around the world over the past two decades, there is a need for a book that will provide a missiologically theocentric reading of the New Testament for application to church planting and maturation. Such a reading will help ensure that contemporary movements are theologically grounded and their leaders capable of teaching sound doctrine. Creatively illustrated with stories from the mission field, this book will chronicle the progression of the movement in Ephesus with the goal of learning from the past and adhering to the heart of God for reaching every people group. It is that singular, even myopic, mentality that will result in an outwardly focused movement versus an insularly absorbed institution. This is a movement characterized by vibrant prayer, resilient focus on God’s mission, and leadership that epitomizes courage to lean into the call to take the gospel to all peoples, nations, tribes, and languages with respect and dignity no matter the risk (Acts 19:37). 


I am convinced that Jesus has designed his church for world transformation—that world impact is baked into the very nature and design of the church.  Michael Cooper knows this and has focused his scholarship on trying to figure out the inherently movemental nature of the church.  Ephesiology is precisely the kind of reflection on the missional potential of the New Testament church that is needed in our time.  It deserves to be widely read.

Alan Hirsch
Award winning writer on movemental theology, spirituality, and leadership including books like The Forgotten Ways and The Permanent Revolution.
Founder of Forge Missional Training Network, 100 Movements, and The 5Q Collective.   

Wow – GREAT resource!  Far too often we forget the basics in church planting and church multiplication movements. Ephesiology gives a solid biblical understanding to the original church planting movement, and provides a healthy DNA understanding for local congregations, denominations and ministries to grow effectively.  Dr.Cooper has made a significant contribution to the Kingdom here. I’m adding this book to our recommended resource tool kit for GACX (global alliance for church multiplication) team.       

Nate Vander Stelt
Executive Vice President
Global Alliance for Church Multiplication

“Masterfully handling the book of Ephesians and using its content as a definitive guide, Michael Cooper lays a theologically strong foundation that is both corrective and directive to disciple making movements.  The principles he gleans from the book of Ephesians and related texts, help to ensure the on-going multiplication and maturation of a movement. Because these are supra-cultural principles, they are applicable anywhere in the world.”

Marvin J. Newell
Staff Missiologist
Missio Nexus
Author of Crossing Cultures in Scripture

“I am happy to endorse Ephesiology: The Study of a Movement, by Dr. Michael Cooper. Church planting movements continue to grow and thrive around the world. As these movements grow, Cooper’s work will provide a necessary theological and missiological foundation to ensure that these dynamic movements remain healthy into the future.”

Dr. Dudley Brown
International Training Institute
Christ Community Church

“Having worked as a missionary, outreach pastor in the United States, and now heading an initiative for the Evangelical Free Church of America for the Unreached People Groups, I feel that the topic of this proposed book is very timely. I am presently working alongside several CP movements in Africa and the leaders of these movements are beginning to struggle with the tension between movement and institution. The American church watches and marvels at these movements but remains asleep as to their own condition. This book has the potential to challenge and clarify the changes needed in America and offer warning and help to the global movements!”

Rev. Rick Burke
Associate Director of Global Equipping
Unreached People Initiative
Reach Global – EFCA

“Who better to dig into the model of Ephesus than a missionary church-planter, turned missiologist, turned mission leader?  Michael brings helpful breadth and depth to this work. His extensive experience and ongoing exposure to the church and the need around the world give him a unique platform. After decades of pragmatic, programmatic models, the church needs an exegetically-driven path forward.”

Rev. Kerry Doyal
Senior Pastor
Christ Community Fellowship
Sarver, Pennsylvania

Ephesiology is a uniquely grounded and helpful framework that will bless any person needing direction for church planting ‘the New Testament way.’ Drawing from biblical, theological, missiological and practical experience and disciplines, Dr. Cooper has created a tome that faithfully exposits the scriptural principles that guided one of the greatest churches of the New Testament era. As a seasoned church planter himself, complemented by solid academic grounding, Cooper’s book is a must read for anyone who takes seriously and prayerfully the concept of church planting movements.”

Dr. Gary Fujino
Professor of Diaspora Studies
Missional University
Global Diaspora Network

“I have personally been enlightened by Michael’s insights in regards to what it takes to start a movement like the early church that spanned much of the known world with the Gospel. Though I have earned multiple theological degrees, this is the first time I have heard the insights Michael has given in this book. It has motivated me to the point that I am having him train my staff and board of elders and deacons – hoping to light the fire for evangelism in their hearts as well.”

Rev. Steve Gibson
Lead Pastor
Wellspring Church
Hudsonville, Michigan

“Despite the fact that the modern missiological use of the phrase “church planting movements” is quite recent (in terms of over 2,000 years of church history), the phenomenon of the rapid multiplication of house churches was clearly birthed and evolved almost two millennia ago in Ephesus and other early Apostolic church plants. I love the concept of a book that examines the multiplication and growth of the early church in Ephesus while also integrating that study with an examination of relevant passages in the Epistles, Acts, and Revelation. Michael’s plan to intertwine illustrations of contemporary church planting movements with the study of the biblical theology of the church and early church multiplication movements is also very appealing. The Book of Ephesians’ clear focus on the believer’s intimacy with God, the centrality of the gospel of grace, the Holy Spirit empowerment for service and requisite holistic integrity of the life and family of a follower of Jesus make it the perfect New Testament book – and early church movement – to study in order to understand the explosion of the gospel that began in Ephesus almost 2,000 years ago! I cannot wait to read the final manuscript and recommend this strategic book to others in order to motivate the global church to sprint towards the finish line of the Great Commission!”

Dr. Kurt Nelson
President and CEO
East West Ministries International

“Dr. Cooper’s proposal is creative and the book should make a good contribution to existing literature on the theology of church planting movements. Among its merits is the fact that the book combines research in New Testament with current issues and realities in church planting movements worldwide, drawing upon Dr. Cooper’s extensive experience in this area. I think the book will be welcomed by missiologists and church planters and it should find its place as a text in Bible colleges and seminaries.”

Dr. Harold A. Netland
Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Intercultural Studies
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Author of Christianity and Religious Diversity

“A century ago, Roland Allen demonstrated how far 19th century missionary practice had departed from the example of the Apostle Paul. His work is still in print, used by many and needed to be used by more.  Michael is accomplishing the same task of calling the church back to the Biblical foundation of missions and church planting.  In Allen’s day, missions was married to the spirit of progress and colonialism. In our day, it is married to the vagaries of contemporary culture and the gimmicks of modernity. What is needed is exactly what Dr. Cooper is proposing, namely a reexamination of the Biblical methodology of Paul. It is applicable to the church planting around the world just as Allen’s work, written for the mission field, has been used by churches and para-church ministries in North America.”

Dr. James Stamoolis
Missiologist and Educational Consultant
Author of Eastern Orthodox Mission Theology Today

“What will it take?” This is one of the questions that keeps me awake at night, and I believe Michael too. He and I share an irresistible curiosity and zeal for a gospel-movement in our communities, country, continent, and world. With stories of such movements exploding in the hardest to reach places around the globe, the church in North America (along with other places where the church has plateaued or is in decline) would do well to learn from what has now become known as church planting movements (CPMs). I have benefited greatly from Michael’s experience and insights detailed in this book, both theologically and practically. I highly recommend this book to every pastor, church planter, Christian leader, and academic who needs permission to embrace a radical paradigm that originated in first-century Ephesus and answers the question, “What will it take?”

Pastor Matthew Till
Lead Pastor, Restoration Church
Lake Zurich, Illinois
Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies
Trinity International University

“I am really excited about Michael’s new book on Ephesiologyand look forward to reading it. Using the Ephesian church as a model for understanding church planting movements better is brilliant. I have generally separated out the various passages and books that relate to the Ephesians and, at times, may have missed some important emphases and principles that all of us who are engaged in church planting need to consider in our strategies.”

Dr. Joe L. Wall
Professor of Systematic Theology
Grace School of Theology
Author of Going for Gold