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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The Truth About Church Planting

Somebody asked me about church planting the other day, and I had to tell them the truth: If you sign up for church planting, you're signing up for a world of pain.

There's no other way to put it. You will face financial uncertainty, spiritual attack, insecurity, and more. Things will take longer than you think, and there's no guarantee of success. I don't know anyone who's planted a church who found that it was easy.

But I wouldn't be honest if I didn't give the other side. Church planting is also incredibly rewarding. There are few things that are worthwhile that aren't hard, so it's no surprise that church planting is both painful and joyous at the same time.

My wife sometimes wonders why we didn't start out church planting in the first place. That's not because it's been easy. It's because it's been worth it.

This past weekend we took some leaders on a retreat. At one point I looked around the room, and felt profoundly grateful for each person. Two years ago, I didn't know any of them. And now I have the privilege of serving alongside them, and seeing the gospel advance in a community that needs it.

If you're thinking about church planting, count the cost. It will be hard. But it may also be the most rewarding and joyful thing you've ever done.

1 Comment

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.

Church Planting Is for Everyone

Church planting isn't for everyone — except that it is. Not everyone is called to be a church planter, but I'm increasingly convinced that all of us should either be involved in church planting, or support church planting.

I didn't always feel this way. I used to think that church planters were maladjusted, overgrown youth leaders who couldn't fit into the established church. Two observations and one article changed my mind.

First, I observed a church plant that started in the basement of a home with only a few people. The pastor held down a full-time job. To be honest, I kind of pitied him, and I pitied the church. Over the next ten years, I watched that church outpace every established church I knew in our city, grow to over two hundred, and plant daughter churches. I began to see that church plants could achieve growth that's rare for an established church.

Second, I attended a meeting with other planters and pastors. We shared our hopes and dreams for our ministries. Every church planter could articulate vision with passion and clarity. Every pastor of an established church struggled to articulate a clear vision. It's possible and necessary to gain clarity of vision in an established church, but it's easier in a church plant.

Finally, I read Tim Keller's article Why Plant Churches? It sealed the deal. Church planting is not only biblical and effective, but it helps established churches too.

Get to know a planter. Hear their vision. Consider the theology and benefits of church planting. Either become a planter yourself, or get behind a planter. Everyone benefits.

Comment

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.

Ten Church Planting Proverbs

A proverb is a short, pithy saying that communicates truth. It doesn't say everything about a topic, but it communicates something important.

The following are some of my my favorite church planting proverbs, along with a short explanation of why I like each one.

"Biblical church planting is evangelism that results in new churches" (J.D. Payne). This corrects my tendency to see church planting as starting a new service that will result in evangelism.

"The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for the numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city, and the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city" (Tim Keller). It's not church planting or revitalization. It's both.

“Church planting is a long hard slog, but it’s worth it all for the glory of God" (Ed Stetzer). This statement captures both the cost and the value of planting.

"It is time to enlarge the church planting table" (J.D. Payne). We need to make room for missionaries who are biblically qualified and called, but don't fit into the traditional pattern of church planting in North America.

"Open more lanes" (Ed Stetzer). We need fully funded church plants, but we also need bivocational models, house church models, and more.

"Don't plant or pastor a church in your head. Plant or pastor a church in your community" (Ed Stetzer). Bring the gospel to your community, not a church planting model.

"Gardens don't launch" (Andy Stager). Planting is much more of a process than it is an event.

"Stop counting and have fun" (advice given to David Cooke). It's easy to get so serious and so focused on numbers that you miss what God is doing right in front of you.

"We are not the cool thing. We're dead. Jesus is the cool thing" (Gordon Fleming). The minute we think it's about being hip or cool, we're done.

"Church planting is the overflow of your relationship with Jesus" (Adam Sinnett). So is life. So important. So easily forgotten.

This is just a start. I'd love to hear your church planting proverbs as well. Leaven them in the comments if you have them.

1 Comment

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.