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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Three Books on Pastoral Ministry

When I'm asked to recommend books for new pastors, here are three that usually come to mind:

The Imperfect Pastor — I've written about this book before. I think every pastor should read it. Eswine understands the temptations that are common to pastors. We love ministry that's large, fast, and famous. Eswine calls us instead to surrender to doing small, mostly overlooked things over long periods of time. This is a profound and thoughtful piece of pastoral theology.

The New Pastor's Handbook — Jason Helopoulos has written a helpful book for new pastors. It gives clear, practical advice on topics that pastors will face. It's both theological and practical. "Ministry, like baseball, is quite simple," he writes. "It is nothing more than loving Christ, loving his people, and loving the Word...When love for Christ, his people, and his Word dominates our motivations and actions, everything else falls into place." This book gives needed clarity to new and old pastors.

Apostolic Church Planting — Every church needs to be involved in church planting. Apostolic Church Planting is one of the best books out there on birthing churches from the harvest fields. It simplifies church planting, and provides a track for churches of all sizes to get involved. Church planting should be on every pastor's radar, and this book is one I'd highly recommend.

It's hard to pick just three books, but these are a good start.

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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.

Lessons from Deep Work

Deep Work by Cal Newport is one of the best books I've read so far this year. It's about the ability to focus, without distraction, on a difficult task.

I'd recommend reading the book, but you can also read Newport's blog.

Here are some of the ideas I'm implementing from the book.

Create rituals. I'm working on implementing a morning routine that gives me more time for devotions, journaling, and writing. Intentionality in creating rituals is very helpful in learning how to do deep work.

Make grand gestures. Just as J.K. Rowling checked into a hotel to complete The Deathly Hallows, it's occasionally helpful to leverage a radical change in environment, as well as an investment of time and money, to make progress on a goal. I just employed this tactic this week in booking a writing day.

Shut down at night. Aim for 5:30. Set a firm goal, and then work backward to meet that goal. Then stop thinking about work, completely, until the next morning. I'm still working on this one.

Limit social media. Try fasting from some types of social media without telling anyone. See if you miss it. See if anyone misses you.

Plan days. Instead of spending the day on autopilot, or spending the day reacting, choose work in advance.

These are some things I'm working on implementing. It's definitely a book worth digesting and implementing.

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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.

My Top Books of 2015

I've read some great books this past year. Here are the top ten. Not all of them were published this past year, but they're all ones I've read in 2015 and loved. Here they are, in order, beginning with my favorite.

The Imperfect Pastor by Zack Eswine — There are few books that I read repeatedly. This will be one of them. Eswine understands the temptations that pastors face, and he speaks to them with power and kindness. One of my friends says he's like Eugene Peterson on steroids. I wish I could have read this book when I started my ministry. My Review | Amazon

A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller — Everyone I know struggles with his or her prayer life. Miller writes with penetrating honesty about his own struggles with prayer, and how he's learned to pray in the craziness of life. I not only enjoyed this book, but it changed my prayer life. My Review | Amazon

Spurgeon's Sorrows: Realistic Hope For Those Who Suffer From Depression by Zack Eswine — This is the second Eswine book to make the list, and it examines the famous preacher Charles Spurgeon and his struggles with depression. It's helpful not only for those who struggle, but those who want to understand depression. So helpful. My Review | Amazon

Walking Home: The Life and Lessons of a City Builder by Ken Greenberg — Greenberg is an urban designer in Toronto. Walking Home is both the story of his life, and a treatise on what makes cities work. There are many books on cities, but Greenberg's is the most entertaining and informative I've read so far. Amazon

Do More Better: A Personal Guide to Productivity by Tim Challies — Challies gets things done. Reading this short book is like spending an hour with him and learning his secrets. There's nothing complicated in this book, but applying it will have a profound impact on your life. I love its simplicity and practicality. My Review | Amazon

Honest Evangelism: How to Talk About Jesus by Rico Tice — I struggle with evangelism. There's a reason, according to Tice: it's hard. Honest Evangelism helps us understand why it's hard, and helps us understand how we can learn to evangelize using our personality and gifts. It's a clear, practical, and helpful guide for anyone who wants to share the gospel. My Review | Amazon

Unburdened: The Christian Leader's Path to Sexual Integrity by Michael Todd Wilson — Pastors face sexual temptation, just like everyone else. Many struggle in secret, and find their lives and ministries hindered. Wilson speaks honestly to this struggle and provides hope. This is an important read on a topic that's critical for pastors. My Review | Amazon

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, and Ron McMillan — This book has been on my pile for ages, and I finally got around to reading it this year. It's great for understanding how to talk about tough issues when our response would normally be either silence or violence. It's clear and practical. My Review | Amazon

The Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri Nouwen — It's easy to see fundraising as a task to be endured. Nouwen helps us see that it's not a distraction from ministry; it is ministry. He corrects our wrong assumptions about fundraising, and helps us see it more accurately. If you are a missionary, church planter, or anyone else charged with raising funds for ministry, this book is important for you to read. My Review | Amazon

Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much by Tony Crabbe — I continue to try to get everything done. Crabbe shows us that this is an impossible aspiration. He guides us to stop trying to get it all done, focus on outputs rather than inputs, and approach our tasks with more creativity and playfulness. This book has helped me become more focused on initiating rather than responding in my work. My Review | Amazon

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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.

The Sexual Integrity of Christian Leaders

Here are seven lessons that stood out to me from the new book Unburdened: The Christian Leader's Path to Sexual Integrity:

Nobody's immune. Don't ask, "Do you struggle with sexual integrity?" Ask, "How do you struggle with sexual integrity?" (p. 12) "None of us are somehow beyond the struggles of any other men in our sex-saturated culture" (p.13). "There’s not a one of us who doesn’t face real challenges to our personal sexual integrity" (p. 20).

Our integrity matters. "Our purpose in the kingdom will only be accomplished to the extent we don’t allow spiritual disease into our life that siphons off our strength" (p.14). "We can’t imagine what God wants to do with our lives if we’re willing to let him use our lives, including our brokenness, for his glory" (p. 120).

Our sexuality is a prime target. "Clearly our gender (male and female) and the union of our genders (our sexuality) is at the very heart of our representation of God’s image. Why, then, should it surprise us that Satan’s number-one target in the twenty-first century is both our gender and our sexuality?" (p. 34)

Sexual temptation is the perfect trap for the Christian leader. "Who else has such privacy, time alone, lack of accountability, a presumption of integrity by others and isolation from close friendships than the typical minister?" (p. 51)

Don't think black and white. Think red (choices to avoid because they're inconsistent with God's design), yellow (slippery slope items), and green (healthy, God-honoring choices) (p. 57). Avoid the red; minimize the yellow; invest in the green.

Disclosure is better than discovery. "While not everyone needs public disclosure, all of us need at least one or two people who know our whole story and can walk alongside us in the road ahead" (p. 18). "As a rule, proactive disclosure before being confronted results in better recovery than telling the whole truth after being confronted" (p. 63).

You can help others. "Once you’re at least ninety days out and feel you’re in a better (not perfect) place of personal application and growth, you’ll be more able to serve as a guide for other men on the path" (pp. 131-132).