Saturday Links

Links for your weekend reading:

Thoughts on the Rise and Fall of Pastors

Pastors are prime candidates for relational isolation, emotional turmoil, and moral collapse.

Self-Promoting Wolves or Selfless Shepherds?

I started thinking more about the leaders who have made the greatest impression upon me throughout my life. I came up with four characteristics that were universal.

Church Planters and the Cost of Starting a Church

In releasing these findings, our hope is to liberate planters to have open and honest conversations about their financial reality — and that those conversations will lead to innovative ideas that advance the church planting movement into a season of unparalleled health and growth.

5 Future Trends of Church Planting

  1. Becoming more technical and strategic.
  2. Becoming more urban.
  3. Becoming more modular.
  4. Becoming more bi-vocational.
  5. Becoming more diverse.

3 Reasons You Should See Going to Church As a Privilege, Not a Chore

Here are three ways we should see gathering with God’s people as privilege.

Themelios 41.1

The Gospel Coalition just released the April 2016 issue of Themelios, which has 208 pages of editorials, articles, and book reviews.

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Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

21 Quotes from Planting Missional Churches

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the new edition of Planting Missional Churches. For more information, see my review.

I believe in church planting. More to the point for this book, I believe in church planters. (locations 227-228)

There’s no magic formula. (If there were, this would be a really thin book!) (location 240)

In church planting the goal isn’t to plant the coolest church or do things that have never been done before, but it’s always to reach people, be on mission, and be about the kingdom of God. (locations 264-265)

It’s possible to be a missionary without ever leaving your city. (locations 275-276).

Church planting is essential. Without it Christianity will continue to decline in North America. (locations 339-340)

Since God is a missional God, his church should be as well. (location 623)

Ultimately our goal is much more than creating a large attendance; it’s making disciples. (locations 749-750).

The most biblical church is the one in which the cross is the only stumbling block for the unchurched. (locations 907-908)

I am convinced you cannot love a city if you do not know a city. And you certainly cannot reach a city if you do not love it. (locations 3117-3118).

Planters should not view bivocational planting as a penalty but as an opportunity. (locations 3655-3656)

Every church planter I’ve known has experienced an attempted vision hijacking within the first three years of the church start. (locations 4465-4466)

Not every pastor is a church planter, but every church planter is a pastor. (locations 4596-4597)

Growth barriers are leadership barriers. (locations 4729-4730)

Evangelism always involves a bloody cross and an empty tomb. It always involves Jesus’ death on the cross for our sin and in our place. (location 4916)

Conversion is an event, but evangelism is helping people on a journey to conversion and then on to maturity. (locations 4969-4970)

Evangelizing lost persons does not happen by accident. The mature church planter will not expect unchurched people to show up for services just because a new church has arrived. (locations 5180-5181)

If knowledge led to evangelism, we would have reached the world years ago. (location 5509)

Many church planters are spiritually bankrupt and strategy rich. (location 5993)

Hold models loosely and the gospel firmly. (location 6987)

The only way you can even attempt to move the people in your church to where God wants them to be is by first ensuring that you are where God wants you to be. (locations 7576-7577)

The best church planters are the ones who realize their ultimate calling is not first and foremost to plant a church but to come to Jesus himself. (locations 7590-7591)

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Planting Missional Churches

When I moved into a condo, only the best books moved with me. To make the cut, a book had to be indispensable.

It says something, then, that I kept Planting Missional Churches by Ed Stetzer. I've consulted it many times as I've planted. Stetzer is a church planting expert. He's planted churches, researched church planting, and consulted with church planters across the globe.

Planting Missional Churches is a good book, but it needed a refresh. May 1 marks the release of a new edition, cowritten by Daniel Im. What's new? Ed and Daniel have changed 50% of the content. They've added new stories, models, and content in every chapter. They've also added five new chapters:

  • Chapter 8: Multiethnic or Monoethnic Churches
  • Chapter 9: Multisite Planting
  • Chapter 27: Residencies and the Future of Theological Education
  • Chapter 28: Denominations and Networks
  • Chapter 30: Spiritual Leadership

They've reorganized the structure of the book, and included new research from the new State of Church Planting study, a research partnership of over a dozen denominations on church planting in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. The book is substantially different than the 2006 edition I moved into my condo.

I've been reading the new edition over the past couple of weeks. It's split into five sections:

  1. The Foundations of Church Planting
  2. The Models of Church Planting
  3. Systems for Church Planting
  4. Ministry Areas for Church Planting
  5. Multiplication and Movements.

It's hard to think of a church-planting topic they don't cover. While this book covers various models of church planting, most of the book is for the traditional vocational North American church planter. There's a wealth of information, though, for anyone.

As I've read the book, I've had three thoughts.

First: these guys know church planting. The topics they cover are the ones that I've wrestled with. I have the feeling that Daniel and Ed understand what a church planter goes through, and they are on my side.

Second: these guys are evenhanded. They not only cover the breadth of thinking around church planting, but they present their own perspective. I generally agree with them, but even when I don't, I have to admit that they are fair and generous in what they write. I appreciate the amount of wisdom that's packed into this book.

Finally: this book is timely. It covers new issues that weren't on the radar ten years ago. I especially appreciate the chapter on multisite planting, and the section on Multiplications and Movements.

I'll share some quotes from the book on Thursday. You can also check out a sample of the book, along with free bonus material.

Planting Missional Churches is a book I'd recommend to anyone who is thinking of planting a church, is planting a church, is training others in planting, or is pastoring and considering planting or multiplication. The new edition has earned a place on my bookshelf, and I'll be consulting it for years to come.

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Saturday Links

Links for your weekend reading:

Why We Need Anonymous, Plodding Church Planters

We don’t need more rock stars. We don’t need more men seeking the limelight. We need more anonymous, plodding church planters who labor faithfully for the spread of the Gospel and the glory of King Jesus.

Silencing God's Megaphone

If your goal is to make Christ famous, instead of yourselves, have we ever wondered if achieving personal fame is the best way to go?

Listen to the Little Guy Too

Here are some reasons we ought to seek out and listen well to (and perhaps even give large public platforms to) the guys who pastor small churches, especially if they’ve been doing it for a while.

Ten Principles for Personal Productivity

I have ten things to say.

3 Ways to Get Involved in Church Planting

Let me encourage you to not adopt the posture of waiting to be involved in church planting. And if you aren't sure where to start, here are three possible ways to get going.

Ten Tips for Leading Church Well

Practically speaking, the person who leads church can have a massive influence, for good or for ill, on the experience. Here’s what we tell our service leaders to aim for on a Sunday.

Reformed “Spotlight”: What is Spiritual Abuse?

Here’s my suggestion to start the conversation, followed by my “exposition."

Ministering to the Sick - Some Practical Considerations

I came across this little list the other day and thought it might prove helpful for young pastors in particular. Much of this I learned from tagging along with my father-in-law to hospital visits during our summer vacations. But this is the kind of stuff every Christian can do.


Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.


One of the greatest lessons I've learned in the past few years is about clarity. I agree with Will Mancini, self-proclaimed clarity evangelist, who says, "Clarity isn't everything, but it changes everything." I've been learning this lesson in three areas.

Ministry Clarity

When I began the process of church planting, I found myself confused. I began reading all the church planting books. Everyone had a different model, and they were all sure that theirs was right.

I remember closing the books while on a retreat. I pulled out a journal, and began to write about the church I sensed God was calling us to plant. I incorporated insights from what I'd learned, but sensed that I needed to get clear about what God was calling us to do.

Since then I've worked on developing greater clarity with our team using Will Mancini's books Church Unique and God Dreams. We have a one-page summary of our mission, values, strategy, and marks. We also have a one-page planning document that summarizes our five-year vision, three-year vision, and one-year and 90-day initiatives.

I've served in churches that lacked clarity. It cost us. Looking back, I wish we had forced ourselves to wrestle through the process of gaining clarity about what God was calling us to do. Not only would it have prevented pain, but it would have helped our ministry.

Personal Clarity

I knew Will Mancini as the church clarity guy. A couple of years ago I heard Will talk about personal clarity. I attended every session that I could, and became hooked on the idea.

When I heard that Will as leading a personal vision cohort, I jumped in. The process was helpful, and I ended up with a two-page document that I have with me almost all the time. The first page outlines my mission, values, measures, strategy. The second page outlines what I'm working on using different time horizons: 3 years, 1 year, 90 days, and next week.

Here's what I wrote at the end of the process:

Over the years, I’ve tried many tools to help me get personal clarity. Most of them were helpful, but it always felt like I was missing something, or that the tools were too complicated to meaningfully guide my life.  The Younique Personal Vision Journey is the first one that has been comprehensive enough to encompass all of my life, and simple enough to use every day. I have greater clarity than ever before about God’s call on my life, and how to translate this into action.

Business Clarity

My wife and I are working on a new initiative right now. I'm excited about it, and I'll be writing more about it soon. We're working hard at getting clarity about what we are trying to do. I'm finding Business Model Generator helpful. When we're done, we will have a one-page document that outlines our business plan and clarifies what we hope to do.

I love the process of gaining clarity, so that every area of my life — ministry, personal, and business — is summarized in just a few pages. "It’s simple to make things complex, but it’s complex to make things simple," says Mancini. It's hard work to get to simple clarity, but it's worth it.